CADILLAC — Two teenage males were charged as adults and faced felony offenses Monday in Wexford County’s 84th District Court for their connection to a shooting on Sept. 3.
Michael Wayne Mitchell Jr., 16, of Manton was arraigned with one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder or by strangulation for his connection with the Sept. 3 incident in Cedar Creek Township. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison or $5,000 in fines.
Matthew Jaydon Christie, 17, of Kalkaska was charged with accessory after the fact of a felony — assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder or by strangulation — for his connection with incidents on Sept. 3 in Cedar Creek Township. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines.
The charges are merely accusations and not evidence of guilt. Both Mitchell Jr. and Christie are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. The prosecution has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Although Christie would have been charged as an adult because the alleged crime occurred before the upcoming changes due to the state’s Raise the Age legislation that goes into effect on Oct. 1, Wexford County Prosecutor Corey Wiggins said after the arraignment that the seriousness of the charge and circumstances guided his decision to charge Mitchell Jr. as an adult.
As for not seeking an attempted murder offense, Wiggins said the charge was based on the information they had on Sept. 3.
“We still had not been able to have the victim interviewed at that point. The two defendants were in custody, and we wanted to get charges authorized against them because otherwise they’re gonna have to be released,” he said. “We didn’t want to have to release them and then try to backtrack and get them back. We are still waiting for reports to come in and we will be looking to see whether we need to modify the charges at all once we get those reports.”
Wiggins also said the victim has had a couple of surgeries and a third one might be needed. He also said there is no release date for the victim from the hospital, based on information he received from law enforcement. The exact status of the victim, however, was unknown.
Wexford-Missaukee Chief Public Defender Robert Champion said he had no comment regarding the case.
During Mitchell’s arraignment Wiggins the victim was shot with his gun that Mitchell Jr. allegedly took from him. It also was stated that Mitchell Jr. had been convicted of domestic violence and larceny charges. Mitchell Jr. also stated during his arraignment that he was found guilty of stealing a firearm, but it could not be confirmed during the proceedings.
During Christie’s arraignment, it was determined he had previously been convicted of domestic violence and disorderly person — jostling. He also was being assisted by community mental health. Wiggins also said during the arraignment that Christie’s involvement was limited and only recently become acquaintances with Mitchell Jr.
Wexford County Sheriff Trent Taylor said the two suspects were in custody as of midmorning on Sept. 3 and it is believed they were the only two involved in the shooting. As a result, Taylor said the sheriff’s office opened the area of the shooting back up and there was no additional perceived danger to the public.
By the afternoon of Sept. 3, Taylor said deputies were still on the scene of the Cedar Creek Township home gathering evidence and continuing the investigation.
Earlier in the morning of Sept. 3, Taylor said police had detained two persons of interest in this incident, but the area where the shooting occurred was still not considered safe as they were checking to make sure there were no other potential suspects on the lam.
Taylor said deputies were dispatched around 2:16 a.m. on Sept. 3 to a report of a shooting. The incident allegedly occurred at a residence on East 14 1/4 Road near Mackinaw Trail in Cedar Creek Township just north of Manton.
Taylor said the victim was getting a ride home during the early morning hours of Sept. 3 when he arrived at the residence. After he exited the vehicle to enter the dwelling, Taylor said that is when another man came out of the home and shot the victim. That man is believed to be Mitchell Jr.
The driver of the vehicle who was dropping off the victim at the Cedar Creek Township home then grabbed the injured man and drove him to a residence in the City of Manton, Taylor said. He then called 911, according to Taylor.
A $50,000 cash or surety bond was issued for Mitchell Jr. with conditions he has no contact with the victim or his residence. He also is not to possess weapons or firearms and if he is released from the Macomb County juvenile facility he was housed in, he was to be placed on house arrest with a GPS tether.
Christie was released on a personal recognizance bond with conditions that he possesses no weapons or firearms, has no contact with the victim and that he only leave his home for medical treatments like with community mental health and court.