Shooter pleads no contest but mentally ill in Detroit officer's death

Image 1 of 2

The man accused of shooting a Detroit Police sergeant, leading to his death, has taken a plea deal. 

The murder trial for Marquise Cromer in connection with the death of Sgt. Ken Steil began Wednesday. When court resumed Thursday, it was announced Cromer entered no contest pleas - guilty but mentally ill - to second degree murder 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.

The 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, stricking 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.

Steil, a 20-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department, was trying to arrest Cromer who police say was in the middle of a crime spree. He was expected to make a full recovery from the gunshot but died from complications a few days later.

In court Wednesday, the prosecution called on his family to give the jury some insight into Cromer's frame of mind. 

"He went to saying things like God wanted him to kill people and little stuff like that," said Tammy Johnson, Cromer's stepmother. "I interrupted and was like no, this is not what God wants you to do."

His father testified Cromer showed signs of mental illness, even at a young age. 

"Yes he was going to see a psychiatrist but he was not taking his medication like he was supposed to," Sterling Cromer said in his testimony Wednesday. 

After his arrest after the shooting involving Sgt. Steil, Cromer's eratic behavior during his time in jail delayed the case. His arraignment was set for just a few days after Steil's death, but Cromer refused to leave his cell to face the murder charges. FOX 2 learned he was so combative that he was never brought over to court and his court-appointed attorney was never able to speak with him.

Last May, during a hearing, Cromer was smiling and laughing throughout the hearing. Eventually, he was deemed competent to stand trial.

Cromer's sentencing is scheduled for February 1.