WEST BLOOMFIELD (WWJ) – A West Bloomfield teenager has been found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of another teen earlier this year.
The 16-year-old Leonard White fatally stabbed 17-year-old Johnathan Rickman during an altercation in June. The defense said it was a case of self defense.
Jurors in Oakland County Circuit, who reached the verdict late Monday afternoon, had also had the option of finding White guilty of involuntary manslaughter or murder.
The victim’s father, Rodrick Rickman, was unhappy with the outcome. He was hoping for a murder conviction.
“I’m very disappointed, very disappointed … I just don’t think it was an accurate depiction of what happened. My son lost his life for no reason at all,” he said.
Defense attorney Rowland short took a different view.
“Like we said in the beginning, there are no winners in this case. There’s still a young man who is not here, and our heart goes out to the Rickman family, first and foremost,” Short said. “Besides that, we are happy with the verdict. Of course, we would like to have a not guilty verdict, but our main concern was that the jury not come back with first or second degree (murder).”
White was 15 years old when the stabbing occurred. Judge Wendy Potts will decide if he will be sentenced as an adult or a juvenile.
Sentencing is set for January 4.