Teens charged as adults
charged as an adult with murder, a crime that potentially could bring
life without opportunity for parole.
A few years back, The Oakland Press looked at teenagers under 18 who
had committed crimes that led to them being charged with first-degree
At the time, 40 people in Michigan's prisons came from Oakland County
and had been 17 or younger when they killed someone. All will die in
prison, as they were serving life without parole, the mandatory
sentence for first-degree murder.
Just a couple of years ago, several teenagers faced similar charges
in Oakland County.
One, who beat an elderly woman during a robbery, causing her to have
a heart attack and die in Troy, pleaded to a reduced second-degree
murder and is serving a lengthy prison sentence. Though the death was
unintended, the act of robbery was intended, and felony murder
applies whenever someone dies when one commits a felony. He was lucky
prosecutors were willing to negotiate.
Just because they are charged with first-degree, a jury could find
them guilty of a reduced charge or the prosecutor could negotiate to
a lesser charge, which still would mean decades behind bars. The 15-
year-old who stabbed his mother to death in Rochester Hills is
serving more than 20 years in prison after pleading to second-degree
murder, for instance.
In these two negotiations, prosecutors avoided a jury coming back
with a much lesser manslaughter charge. And in regard to the boy who
killed his mother, a strong insanity defense was a possibility.
With the economy tanking, logic dictates that crime will rise. With
that, more younger people will be committing crimes, which could lead
to a spike in teenagers killing people and then facing life in prison.
Of the 40 offenders in that previous article, most came from two
periods, the early 1980s and then the early 1990s, both times of