LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon has announced that she will not be sending two teen murder suspects to adult court.
The juvenile suspects are accused of shooting and killing 20-year-old Tomaz J. Shessia near a bus stop on S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. near Pierce Rd.
Officers said when they arrived they saw Shessia lying near the sidewalk with a gunshot wound. Meanwhile, officers were able to track down the teen suspects and take them into custody. A handgun was also found by police during the arrest.
Now, Siemon has released a statement explaining why she will not petition the Family Court to have the teen suspects tried as adults.
Siemon says that she has had two conversations with Shessia’s mother and has spoken with other attorneys in her office to help her come to the decision.
In her statement, Siemon said childhood is ‘a unique and distinct chapter in life,’ and the law recognizes that.
“The juvenile court was created over 100 years ago, recognizing that children are different than adults and those unique differences should be considered by public agencies, including by courts and prosecutors,” Siemon said.
Juvenile cases are typically expected to be handled in the Family Court unless rehabilitation does not seem feasible, Siemon said.
“There are cases where I have sought to have juvenile cases handled by the adult criminal courts and there will be future cases where I do so,” Siemon said.
Ultimately, Siemon said she made the decision to not seek a waiver for the teens to be tried in adult court based on all the information and circumstances.
“This is a decision that is not popular with all people in the community and I am saddened that this decision does not feel supportive to them,” Siemon said.
Siemon said there is research and data that underlines her decision-making, including local and national news articles.
“Yet another shooting death is difficult and painful for our already traumatized community and that fact haunts me daily as it does most of us,” Siemon said. “My decision is one based on trying to best meet the prosecutor’s ethical decision to obtain justice, and that means considering but not yielding to public pressure.”
Prior to Siemon’s announcement, Shessia’s mother had already come out and said the charges the teen suspects are facing do not fit the crime.
“I also feel that there should be more charges added on to their sentencing because I think some things were missed as far as them concealing an carrying a weapon at 14 and 16-years-old is also a crime. So, why aren’t they being charged with that?” said Jody Shessia, Tomaz’s mother.