Teen Convicted in Stabbing to be Sentenced Today

Leonard White, 16, faces up to 15 years in prison after being found guilty in the June death of 17-year-old Johnathan Rickman in West Bloomfield.

PONTIAC — A Walled Lake teenager could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison today.

Leonard White, 16, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter Dec. 12 in the June 4 death of 17-year-old Johnathan Rickman, who after in the Chelsea Park subdivision of West Bloomfield.

Although the case was heard in Oakland County Circuit Court, the venue in which adults are tried, Judge Wendy Potts will decide whether White will actually serve his sentence as an adult or juvenile, or whether he will receive a "blended" sentence.

The maximum sentence for voluntary manslaughter is 15 years. Roderick Rickman, the victim's father, said after the verdict was read that he does not expect White to be behind bars that long. "What happens in three years if he gets out?" said Rickman, who testified the  to recount the last day he had spent with his son. 

White testified that he was acting in self-defense by grabbing a knife from a kitchen counter and following the victim outdoors to the street on Rafford Lane after being repeatedly punched in the head at a party that involved drugs and gambling. White also recounted two years of bullying that crossed over into social media and ended on an extremely hot summer weekend evening.

"That was not an accurate depiction of what happened. My son lost his life ... this boy couldn't control his anger," Rickman said.


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