Teenagers Linked to Throwing Rocks That Killed Man to be Charged as Adults

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 24, 2019USshare
Teenagers Linked to Throwing Rocks That Killed Man to be Charged as Adults
L: A hole in the windshield of a vehicle driven by late Kenneth White on the I-75 in Vienna Township, Mich., on Oct. 18, 2017; R: Rocks found on I-75 in Vienna Township, Mich., on Oct. 18, 2017. (Genesee County Sheriff’s Office)

Four Michigan teenagers linked to a rock-throwing incident that left a man dead will be charged as adults, a judge ruled.

Mark Sekelsky, 18; Mikadyn Payne, 17; Trevor Gray, 16; and Alexzander Miller, 17, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and asked to be sentenced as juveniles but that request has been rejected by Judge Joseph Farah on July 23, saying they will be tried as adults.

The teens have until August 20 to withdraw the guilty pleas, reported Fox 2.

Kyle Anger, a fifth teenager, is being sentenced separately because he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

NTD Photo
A hole in the windshield of a vehicle driven by the late Kenneth White on the I-75 in Vienna Township, Mich., on Oct. 18, 2017. (Genesee County Sheriff’s Office)

Authorities said Anger dropped the rock from an overpass in Genesee County that killed Kenneth White, a 32-year-old who was driving on I-75, in October 2017. Anger was already going to be tried as an adult.

During the court hearing, Farah said that the group of teens dropped a range of items from the overpass, including tire irons, a shopping cart, and a couch.

“What was the purpose? To wait until the road cleared to drop the item to see it break? No, to make contact [with a car] in this game called Overpassing,” Farah said. “To be able to say aloud, ‘Dinger!’ when a car was hit. It can’t be overlooked that I’m going to assume, I’m going to assume, that Kenny White’s vehicle was the last one hit.”

Farah said investigators uncovered Snapchat messages the teens exchanged after they learned White was dead, including one who said they wouldn’t be caught unless a “[expletive]” gave information to the authorities.

NTD Photo
Rocks found on I-75 in Vienna Township, Mich., on Oct. 18, 2017. (Genesee County Sheriff’s Office)

One of the teens told the others they should get tear drop tattoos to indicate they’d killed someone.

Farah said the messages revealed the teens were not remorseful for their actions and said the lack of remorse was a factor in his rejecting the request for the teens to be charged as juveniles.

If the pleads are kept lodged by the teens, they could get credit for the 21 months they’ve spent in jail since the killing, reported WJRT. Under Michigan sentencing guidelines, manslaughter typically gets 29 months in prison.

Theresa Simpson, White’s mother, said she was pleased with the judge’s rejection.

NTD Photo
Kyle Anger, Alexander Miller, Mark Sekelsky, Mikadyn Payne and Trevor Gray in file booking photographs. (Genesee County Sheriff’s Office)

“My baby. He’s happy now,” she said, holding pictures of her son, reported MLive. “He can rest … I’m very pleased with it. My prayers were answered. Kenneth’s prayers were answered. I’m ecstatic over the decision that was made today. It’s what I wanted. It’s what we all wanted for him.”

One of the teens’ attorneys, Michael Manley, said that Farah’s decision takes lawyers “back to the drawing board” in terms of a plea deal.

The agreed deal saw 10 of the 11 charges against each teen dropped.

“The judicial branch didn’t go for (the plea),” said Manley. “That doesn’t mean we can’t go back to the prosecutor and have him exercise his good judgement.”

NTD Photo
Kenneth White in a file photo. (Burial help for Kenneth A White/GoFundMe)

White’s sister-in-law Kristina Cagle expressed the shock the family felt after learning White died in 2017.

“He was living his life. He wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was coming home to his family, and because of them, he didn’t make it home,” Cagle told Fox 2 at the time.

“These kids … Couldn’t they just go skip rocks on the river or something instead of doing something so senseless? They took away somebody’s father, somebody’s son, and we’re never going to get that back,. Because of a joke. Because of some kind of prank gone wrong or whatever. It’s no laughing matter. Nobody’s laughing.”

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.
Comments