DETROIT (AP) — Three people were charged Thursday in the death of a 13-year-old Detroit boy, who prosecutors say was beaten and choked and whose body was dumped in a vacant lot after he picked up about $70 that had been dropped outside of a convenience store.
“There’s not a whole lot that shocks seasoned prosecutors, but there are some things you just cannot explain,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said at a news conference, where she announced the charges.
Gregory Walker, 45; Lillian Roberts, 43; and Walker’s son, 26-year-old Earnest Coleman, face charges of murder, unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, torture and gun crime. Walker is accused of choking Deontae Mitchell to death with help from Roberts and Coleman. Walker and Roberts are romantically involved. Police declined to discuss any potential prior relationship between Deontae and the defendants.
All three were arraigned Thursday afternoon on the charges. They were jailed and have a hearing set for next Thursday. Coleman had been charged and arraigned on kidnapping in the case over the weekend.
“There is no excuse for what happened to him and the way he was treated,” Worthy said of Deontae, whom she called a “victim” regardless of the circumstances.
Prosecutors and police say Deontae and a cousin were riding bikes on the east side of Detroit late on May 31, and the cousin told police that Deontae picked up some money dropped by one of the men now charged outside of a market.
Deontae rode away, Worthy said, and surveillance video shows Deontae being pursued by a man, who grabbed his arm and forced him into a car.
Deontae’s body was found a week ago in a vacant lot in Detroit. His death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner’s office.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the three people charged had attorneys in this case. A fourth person had been arrested last week, but Worthy said Thursday that only three are charged.
Walker was arrested in Ohio, extradited to Detroit and pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating probation and other crimes stemming from a 2013 case.
Associated Press writers Ed White and Mike Householder contributed to this report.