Evart teen accepts plea in murder, kidnapping plot

Dakota Lee Garrett, 18, of Evart pleaded guilty to assault with intent to murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping for his connection with an incident occurring on Aug. 2 in Osceola Township.

REED CITY — One of two teens suspected of plotting to murder the parents of a juvenile girl and then kidnap her accepted a plea recently in Osceola County's 49th Circuit Court.

Dakota Lee Garrett, 18, of Evart pleaded guilty to assault with intent to murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping for his connection with an incident occurring on Aug. 2 in Osceola Township. As part of the plea, charges of conspiracy to commit assault with intent to murder, first-degree home invasion, and conspiracy to commit first-degree home invasion will be dismissed when he is sentenced on Nov. 25.

At his sentencing, Garrett faces a potential life sentence for each charge and/or fines as high as $50,000 and a $10,000 additional fine on the kidnapping conviction.

Osceola County Prosecutor Tony Badovinac said the case could have turned out much worse if the father had not been astute enough to disarm Garrett. He also said Garrett admitted to a plan that included murder and kidnapping.

According to the police report, Garrett entered the home where the family lived after they left the morning of Aug. 2 to go to church. The family didn't return until the early evening after spending the day at a relative's home, the report said.

When they returned, the family found the front door locked, and the father entered the home via a window. It was at that point he knew something was not right as he saw a toolbox on a bed that should not have been there, according to the police report.

The father then found Garrett crouched in the hall with a knife while Garrett's co-defendant was standing in the bathroom, according to the police report. A struggle ensued, and eventually, the male victim was able to unarm Garrett, and all three went outside to wait for authorities, the police report said.

While the 18-year-old is awaiting sentencing, Garrett's co-defendant in this case, Cody Michael Hensey, 17, also faces charges for his connection with this Aug. 2 incident.

Hensey faces charges of conspiracy to commit assault with intent to murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, first-degree home invasion, conspiracy to commit first-degree home invasion, and larceny in a building. If convicted, Hensey also faces a potential life sentence.

The charges in question are only accusations. Hensey is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. The prosecution has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Badovinac would not comment on the case against Hensey since it was still pending. A plea was offered to the 17-year-old, but Badovinac did not go into any details of the offer since it had not been accepted. 

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