3 charged in ethnic intimidation of Black family in Walled Lake

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News
Michael Graves

Three people have been charged with home invasion or aiding and abetting home invasion, and ethnic intimidation after breaking into the home of an African American family in Walled Lake, the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office announced Thursday.

Witnesses allege the group, identified as Branden Odegaard, Michael Graves and Maci Pietryga, broke into the residents' home early Monday then "threatened to kill the occupants, including two children," investigators said in a statement. "One of the defendants allegedly used a racial epithet."

After the family called 911, Walled Lake police found the suspects nearby, according to the release.

The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office has charged all three with ethnic intimidation, a felony punishable by a maximum penalty of two years in prison and $5,000.

Branden Odegaard

“I want to be very clear that I have zero tolerance for hate crimes," Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said. "Hate has no place here in Oakland County, and I will do everything in my power to hold those who attempt to threaten or harm our residents accountable.”

Odegaard, 37, and Graves, 47, also were charged with first-degree home invasion, a felony punishable by up to 20 years and $5,000.

Pietryga, 26, is charged with first-degree aiding and abetting home invasion, a felony punishable by up to 20 years and $5,000.

All three live in Wolverine Lake, McDonald's office said.

They remained in the Oakland County Jail on Thursday.