Trial for Teen Accused of Murder Begins Monday
The defendant, accused of stabbing a West Bloomfield teenager last summer, remains at Children's Village in Pontiac.
PONTIAC — The trial for a then-15-year-old Walled Lake resident charged with murder in the June 4 stabbing death of a West Bloomfield teenager is scheduled to begin Monday.
Johnathan Rickman, 17, was slain after a quarrel at a friend's house in West Bloomfield. The defendant, whom Patch has not named because of his age, remains at Children's Village in Pontiac. He has turned 16 since the stabbing.
"We're looking forward to presenting our case to the jury," Southfield-based defense attorney Rowland Short said via text message. "Obviously, these families have experienced tremendous hardship as a result of these unforeseeable events."
Witness testimony was last heard during the summer when a 15-year-old Walled Central High School student testified that the defendant told him he had stabbed Rickman, immediately after it was done.
Oakland County Deputy Medical Examiner Bernardino Pacris testified July 6 that Rickman was found with an unknown quantity of cannabis in his system.
Short said last summer that his team would seek to have charges of felonious assault lifted. Short added that he expected to have exact results of the amount of drugs in Rickman's system by the time trial began.
Wendy Potts, a judge in the court's civil/criminal division, will serve as a family court judge in the matter.
If the defendant is convicted by a 12-person jury, Potts can determine whether the accused will be sentenced as an adult, juvenile or receive some form of blended sentence. The defendant will be tried on an open charge of murder as well as for assault with a deadly or dangerous weapon. The jury will determine the degree of the murder charge.
If he is sentenced as a juvenile, he can be held in a facility only until he is 21. But if he is sentenced as an adult, he faces life in prison.