Murdered Detroit officer's widow says 'there's a war against police officers'

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The man accused of shooting a Detroit Police sergeant, leading to his death, was sentenced Thursday after agreeing to a plea deal.

Cromer pleaded no contest last week for the murder of Capt. Kenneth Steil. His plea - guilty but mentally ill - to second degree murder came with a sentence agreement of 38 to 75 years. He pleaded the same for assault with intent to murder, which will be 5 to 10 years, carjacking, which will be 20 to 30 years, and three counts of felony firearm at 2 years each.

In court Thursday, Cromer appeared to smile and chuckle as victim impact statements were being read. 

Cromer said he was hearing voices, and that he thought God was telling him "to do it." Cromer did not apologize in court Thursday, although Capt. Steil's widow said she forgives him. 

"I am a woman of God and will not be shipped from her faith. That is why I forgive you Marquise. Marquise, I forgive you," Joann steil said.

She also took her time in court to address what she calls a 'war'.

"Whether you want to admit it or not, there is a war against police officers," she said.

Cromer took the plea and told the court that he was hearing voices telling him to kill.

"From the first scene to the last, something told me to do it. I thought it was God honestly," Cromer said, while also laughing and smiling during victim impact statements.

The Detroit Police community is wrapping its arms around Steil's family. Joann recalls the pain she feels daily while trying comfort 6-year-old William and 4-year-old Alexander.

"He stands there and he calls down the stairs and he says mommy, I miss daddy," she said. 

The young boys even worked to make their father a welcome home poster. But he never got it. He died in the hospital five days later. 

Joann Steil says she's a different person since losing her husband but is still learning from him every day. 

"You never know how fast life can disappear," she said. "It was like Ken taught me how to forgive someone."

Cromer's charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm came from an incident on Sept. 11, 2016 at his father's house on Dickerson on Detroit's east side. Police say Cromer fired a sawed off shotgun, striking his father in the foot. 

Around 6:45 p.m. the same day, Cromer is accused of approaching a car at an auto wash on Conant and asking for a ride. When the person declined, Cromer opened the driver's side door and produced the shotgun, shooting the driver in the abdomen.

The following day around 10:46 p.m., officials say Cromer was hiding out on East 7 Mile and Hayes with a 20 gage shotgun when he shot Sgt. Steil in the shoulder.

A YouCaring donation account has been created by the Steil family for the couple's young boys, ages 3 and 5. CLICK HERE to donate.