Third lacrosse player charged in guinea pig's slaughter

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Woodhaven — A third Grosse Ile High School lacrosse player has been charged in the alleged pregame slaughter of a guinea pig in April, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

The 16-year-old boy was charged in juvenile court with one count of killing/torturing an animal and one count of animal cruelty, spokeswoman Maria Miller said in a press release. The boy was not named since he is underage.

"He was with defendants (Tanner) Coolsaet and (Michael) Roth on April 30, 2016, when he is alleged to have stabbed the guinea pig with a knife," Miller said.

The teen is expected in court Aug. 11 at the Lincoln Hall of Justice before Referee Viola King. If convicted, he will be sentenced by the judge.

The unnamed teen is charged alongside fellow Grosse Ile lacrosse players Coolsaet, 18, and Roth, 17, who appeared briefly in Woodhaven's 33rd District Court Tuesday for a hearing on their felony charges: two counts each of killing/torturing an animal and conspiracy to kill/torture an animal.

Coolsaet and Roth are charged as adults and face up to four years in prison. They were arraigned July 18 and released on $5,000 personal bonds.

The charges stem from a pregame meeting around 11:30 a.m. April 30 involving a group of varsity boys lacrosse players, according to the prosecutor’s office.

“Two team members, Coolsaet and Roth, arrived at the meeting location and produced a box containing a guinea pig,” Miller said in a statement earlier this month. “Coolsaet had a knife and slit the guinea pig’s throat. Roth grabbed the guinea pig and struck it with a small bat. The animal died shortly thereafter.”

Miller's statement at the time did not mention the 16-year-old defendant now charged alongside his teammates.

Coolsaet and Roth are due back in court 1 p.m. Aug. 15 for their preliminary examination, which is expected to last a couple hours and feature “quite a few witnesses,” Judge James Kersten said.

The hearing initially was set for Aug. 2, but was delayed Tuesday due to scheduling conflicts for both defense and prosecution teams.

Kersten on Tuesday also adjusted the Coolsaet's and Roth's bonds, which originally prohibited possession of pets. The pair now cannot have contact with any animal aside from family pets already present in their homes, including two birds, a fish and two cats.

Roth on Tuesday requested permission to travel to Colorado early next month to visit a family member, a motion granted by Kersten.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy condemned the alleged attack earlier this month.

“The alleged facts in this case illustrate much more than a youthful prank or a pre-game antic,” she said in a statement. "We must take these cases seriously.”

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Twitter: @HollyPFournier