Man gets 18 years minimum for killing nephew over Thanksgiving food

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A Detroit man was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in prison for shooting and killing his nephew around Thanksgiving.

James Graham, 48, pleaded guilty to open murder and felony fire arm last month.


Graham was accused of shooting 16-year-old Freeland Pridgen the day after Thanksgiving following an argument at a home in the 9000 block of Ward Street.

Freland was rushed to the hospital and was stabilized for a few days, but did not survive.

The victim's mother says the dispute was over who was allowed to eat more Thanksgiving food.

Lenna Pridgen says ever since Graham came home from prison, disputes arose about food.

Graham had recently been released from prison before this incident. Relatives say he spent a decade behind bars for setting the mother of his children on fire.

"He's not even supposed to be around guns," says Graystone Maddox, a relative. "And he took a sawed off shotgun - that's way premeditated  - loaded it up, went upstairs and shot my nephew in the back of the head."

Larry Polk, Graham's attorney, says that claim is untrue. He says his client is remorseful.

"I apologize for the actions I did to my nephew Freland," Graham said in court.

He had been on the run for four days after the shooting before Detroit police arrested him during a traffic stop.

Freland Pridge attended the 11th grade at Henry Ford Academy School for Creative Studies. In a statement, Lisa Kreinbring from the school said:

"Freland quickly made many friends and was well-liked by students and staff. This tragedy raised many emotions for our entire school."