(FOX 2) - Four Flint-area teens who admitted to throwing rocks off an overpass on I-75 in Genessee County, killing a passenger in a car below, will be sentenced as adults.
Mark Sekelsky, 18; Mikadyn Payne, 17; Trevor Gray, 16; and Alexzander Miller, 17, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and asked to be sentenced as juveniles. On Tuesday Judge Joseph J. Farah rejected that proposition, determining they'll be sentenced to time in an adult correctional facility. They have until Aug. 20 to withdraw their guilty pleas.
A fifth teen, Kyle Anger, faces sentencing separately. He entered a plea for second-degree murder, as he's the one whom authorities say dropped the specific rock that hit the van and killed the passenger in October 2017.
Judge Farah said separating the friends by means of who was responsible for throwing the rock versus who wasn't was unfair, as the rock dropping was a game they were all willingly - and repeatedly - playing. Farah said the group dropped multiple items over the overpass multiple times, and that their ammo wasn't just rocks - it ranged from tire irons to a muffler to a shopping cart and even a couch.
"What was the purpose? To wait until the road cleared to drop the item to see it break? No, to make contact [with a car] in this game called Overpassing," Farah said. "To be able to say aloud, 'Dinger!' when a car was hit. It can't be overlooked that I'm going to assume, I'm going to assume, that Kenny White's vehicle was the last one hit."
Their so-called game took the life of 32-year-old Kenneth White of Mount Morris, Mich. White was riding in a van coming home from work when authorities say a 6 lb. rock came crashing through the windshield. White suffered fractures to his skull and face. His cause of death was ruled blunt force trauma to his head and chest.
Farah said the teens had troubling conversations over Snapchat after they learned of Morris' death.
He said they talked about "laying low" for a while and how they wouldn't get caught unless a "bitch n---" ratted them out. One friend pulled a prank that the police were canvassing his house and that he was about to be arrested. Another suggested they get tear drop tattoos.
Farah said these conversations, while maybe could be considered idle chatter or kid talk, certainly showed a complete lack of remorse. That was one of his factors in determining an adult sentencing.
Other factors considered were the seriousness of the offense - which the judge said was as high as it gets, the culpability of the defendant, prior records, programming history, and adequacy of punishment available in the juvenile system vs. adult.
After a lengthy contemplation that lasted for more than a half hour, Judge Farah forcefully slammed down his folder and said the proposal for juvenile sentencing was rejected.
His decision was met with a round of applause from the courtroom, where Kenneth White's mother was sitting with his urn by her side.
The teens will be sentenced at a later date. It's not determined yet what type of sentencing Kyle Anger will face.