Detroit man sentenced for involuntary manslaughter of 11-year-old girl

11-year-old Saniyah Pugh was fatally shot on June 4, 2022. (Provided by Saniyah Pugh's family)

On Wednesday, a 23-year-old man was the second to be sentenced in the killing of 11-year-old Saniyah Pugh.

William Dickerson of Detroit was sentenced to five-15 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, plus two years for felony firearm, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

On June 4, 2022, a 17-year-old girl was with Dickerson in the backyard of a home on Goulburn Street in Detroit, shooting at a wooden fence as target practice. One of the bullets, fired by the teen, entered the neighbor's house and fatally struck Pugh

The girl was at her grandmother's home for a sleep-over with other children. 

"She had been dropped off by her mother that night, and less than 30 minutes of being in my home, we had lost her due to neighbors behind us shooting at a wooden fence," Lawanda Melton, Pugh's grandmother, told FOX 2 Detroit last week. "It’s all been such a struggle, especially her mother who is trying to cope without her daughter – her only child."

Dickerson previously pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and felony firearm in the fatal shooting of the 11-year-old.

The 17-year-old is currently on probation after admitting to discharging a firearm at an occupied structure, causing death. As a juvenile, she was sentenced to secure detention.

On Friday, prior to Dickerson's sentencing, the victim's family said they are frustrated with the plea deal he was offered, adding that the punishment does not represent justice for a child robbed of her life.

"The system appears to work for anything outside of murder," Melton said. "We were told 37 to 50 (years), and that it wasn’t going to be changed." 


Detroit family furious with defendant's plea deal in 11-year-old's murder

"We lost her due to neighbors behind us shooting at a wooden fence," said Lawanda Melton, Pugh's grandmother.