Security guards charged in 2014 death of McKenzie Cochran at Northland Mall head to trial

MacKenzie Cochran

The four security guards who were charged in connection with McKenzie Cochran's death in 2014 were bound over for trial this week.

Lucius Hamilton, John Seiberling, Gaven King, and Aaron Maree were each charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter.

According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, Cochran, 25, of Ferndale, allegedly told the owner of a jewelry store at Northland Mall that "he wanted to kill someone" on Jan. 28, 2014.

Two security guards responded to the store after the owner called for security assistance. When Cochran approached the guards with clenched fists, one guard maced him and both attempted to restrain him to the ground. Three additional security guards responded and took part in the restraint in order to handcuff Cochran, authorities said.

Video showed that Cochran remained face down with his arms under his body while the five security guards restrained him. Witnesses at the mall, and subsequent interviews with the guards involved, reported hearing Cochran say he couldn’t breathe while he was on the ground.

Once handcuffed, the guards noticed Cochran was unresponsive and contacted EMS. 

Cochran was declared dead at a nearby hospital shortly after. 

Then-Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper declined to press charges after the death, saying that there was no criminal intent.

In early 2020, Cochran’s family requested the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office review the case. It was then referred to the AG's office. The Public Integrity Unit (PIU) conducted additional work, interviewed additional witnesses, and obtained additional evidence that led to the charges against Hamilton, Seiberling, King, and Maree.

A fifth security guard who was involved that day died in 2017, before charges were filed.