Prosecutor gives update on rock-throwing death case
Posted January 31, 2018 8:23 p.m. EST
GENESEE COUNTY, MI — Five Mid-Michigan teens are facing murder charges after allegedly throwing rocks off an overpass on I-75, killing a father of four.
A father of one of the teens spoke about the incident on Dr. Phil on Wednesday, including the written statement his son Mikaydn Payne gave the police.
"Did you read what he had written," Dr. Phil asked.
"I did read it," the father responded.
"What did it say," Dr. Phil asked.
"Very little. I'm not sure if I should talk about that," the father responded.
"But when you read the statement, it was incriminating," Dr. Phil asked.
"It was incriminating," the father responded.
More than a dozen rocks were hurled onto the highway from the Dodge Road overpass in Vienna Township, puncturing the windshield of the van Kenneth White was riding in.
"I'm hoping we achieve justice for the victim," Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said.
It's a tragic case that left one man dead and five teenagers facing an uncertain future.
"A man was innocently driving home from a day of work. He was going home to his family and he never made it," Leyton said.
White, 32, of Mt. Morris was killed when a six pound rock that was thrown from the overpass crashed through the windshield.
Kyle Anger, Alexzander Miller, Trevor Gray, Mikaydn Payne and Mark Sekelsky are now facing second-degree murder charges for their roles in the incident. They have all been charged as adults.
This case has not been easy for the men responsible for getting justice.
"It's tough just because of their tender years," Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said.
Pickell said investigators are still collecting evidence in the case hoping it will provide more clarity to exactly what happened.
"We are right now testing the Michigan State Police Crime Lab DNA evidence. We have the rock that we believe killed the victim and we are seeing if it has any DNA," Pickell said.
Leyton said once the evidence is collected and all of the cards are laid out on the table, he is hoping for a fair and just punishment.
"We have to put it all out there and try to balance what the scales of justice should be to find the result," Leyton said.
Mikaydn Payne's attorney Michael Manley said he wants accountability for everyone involved in White's death. That is why he agreed for his client's father, Michael Payne, to go on the Dr. Phil show.
"We got the opportunity to go on a nationally syndicated show for one hour to talk about juvenile justice and that was just too hard to pass up," Manley said. "He talked about accountability and that his son was involved and his son should be accountable. If his son was involved in a major part of this, you should be even more accountable."
Manley said doing the show was also a way to help everyone affected heal.
"It also allowed Mr. Payne to personally send his condolences, his thoughts, his prayers to the White family. I think that was very therapeutic for him and we hope it was for the White family as well," Manley said.
Manley said he believes it will come out that Mikaydn was minimally involved in the incident.
He said the fact all five teens accused are being charged as adults speaks to a problem with the criminal system. He believes teen brains are not developed enough to make adult decisions and therefore should not be punished as adults either.
"I think the adult sentencing law should be rarely used. Saved only for people that might start crimes at 12-years-old and have a history of violence and bad beha