FLINT, Mich. (CBS News) — Five high school students in Michigan are accused of.
Kenneth White, a 32-year-old father of four, was riding home last week when a rock hit and killed him. The five suspects are 15 to 17 years old. They are all charged with second-degree murder.
The teenager who prosecutors believe actually dropped the rock is 17-year-old Kyle Anger. Anger is being held at the county jail while the rest are at a juvenile detention facility. All of them were arraigned Tuesday and are being tried as adults, CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz reports.
The five teenage defendants were expressionless as their lawyers entered not guilty pleas for them. Their distraught families watched the proceedings, as did the grieving father of Kenneth White, the 32-year-old victim.
“I’ve buried my mother, my father, and my oldest brother in the last four years. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever did in my life,” White Sr. said.
Police say White, a construction worker, was getting a ride home in a Ford Econoline van around 8:30 pm last Wednesday. That’s when a six-pound rock, about five inches wide and eight inches long, was allegedly dropped from an overpass and crashed through the windshield.
The father of four was struck in the face and chest. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
“It’s not a prank. It’s second degree murder,” said Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell.
Officials say the suspects went to McDonald’s after the incident. Investigators say they found at least 20 rocks on Interstate 75 including one that weighed more than 20 pounds.
Frank Manley and Fred Meiers represent two of the defendants, Mark Sekelsky and Trevor Gray.
“He’s scared, he feels devastated for the victim and the family,” Meiers said.
“I think there’s been a public rush to accept that these kids are bad, that they’re almost animalistic, and they should be punished as such,” Manley said.
The suspects face up to life in prison, but White Sr. – the victim’s father – says that’s not enough.
“Even if they spend 30 years in prison, they get to wake up every single morning. They still get phone calls from their parents. They still get visitors. My son don’t get none of that no more. That was taken away from him for something stupid,” White Sr. said
Investigators believe the suspects also threw tires and car engine parts over another overpass nearby and damaged several other vehicles. The teens were denied bail at their arraignment Tuesday. They’re due back in court November 2.