Four teens who admitted to throwing rocks from a Michigan expressway overpass that killed a young father on his way home from work will be sentenced to prison as adults.
On Tuesday, Genesee Circuit Judge Joseph J. Farah sentenced Mark Sekelsky, 18, Mikadyn Payne, 17, Trevor Gray, 16, and Alexzander Miller, 16, to adult prison, rejecting the defense’s request to sentence them as juveniles for their role in the 2017 death of 32-year-old Kenneth White, ABC News, the Detroit News and Fox 2 report.
In July 2018, the teens agreed to plead guilty to one count of manslaughter for throwing rocks and other objects from an expressway overpass in a game they called “Overpassing.”
A fifth teen, 18-year-old Kyle Anger, who did not appear in court on Tuesday and has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, is said to be the one who threw the rock that smashed through the windshield, killing White just minutes from his home. Anger will be sentenced at a later date.
White was in the passenger seat of a van when the large rock went through the windshield and hit him. He was knocked unconscious and was pronounced dead when he arrived at a Flint hospital.
White’s cause of death was declared a homicide, with blunt force trauma to the head and chest. There were lacerations and abrasions to White’s head and face, as well as a skull fracture and injury to the brain. White also suffered from a broken clavicle and broken upper ribs.
“This was my heart that was destroyed… but i just wanted to say thank you to all who have donated!” White’s fiancée Aimee Cagle wrote on a GoFundMe in 2017. “There is still kindness and love out there i just hate that its because of the travesty. He was my best friend and the love of my life. Thank you to all.”
Farah gave the defense until Aug. 20 to withdraw their pleas in light of the decision that they will be sentenced as adults.
Attorney Frank Manley, who is representing Sekelsky, told ABC12 that a harsh sentence for the defendants will not mitigate the tragedy. “You have a person whose life was taken. Now we have four young boys whose lives may be taken,” he said. “So to sit here and say this is somehow a win for one side or the other, it’s not. It’s very sad all across the board.”
Outside the courthouse, White’s mother, Theresa Simpson, told WXYZ she was pleased with the judge’s decision.
“I’m so glad that Kenneth is getting the justice he deserves. My prayers were answered,” Simpson told the station. “I’m ecstatic over the decision that was made today… It’s what we all wanted for him.”