DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A judge has ordered a juvenile trial for a 16-year-old Detroit boy charged with assault and ethnic intimidation charges in the brutal beating of a suburban motorist.
Wayne County Judge Jerome Cavanagh denied a defense lawyer’s request Thursday to reduce the teenager’s $400,000 bond. The trial set for June 23.
The teen is charged in the April 2 beating of 54-year-old Steve Utash on Detroit’s east side.
According to police, Utash was driving home from his job as a tree-trimmer on April 2 when he struck a 10-year-old boy who stepped out into the roadway near Morang and Balfour. When Utash got out of his pickup truck to check on the boy, police say he was jumped by as many as a dozen people.
Police said Utash was not at fault in the accident, and did the right thing by stopping when he struck the child. A witness told WWJ said dozens of people stood around and watched as Utash was punched, kicked, and stomped on repeatedly. She’s being hailed as a hero for stepping in to stop the attack.
Utash of Macomb County’s Clinton Township, who was in a medically-induced coma for about a week following the attack, remains hospitalized with severe head injuries.
Four adults are charged with attempted murder in the case. They include 17-year-old Bruce Wimbush, 19-year old Latrez Cummings, and 30-year-old Wonzey Saffold, have already been charged.
Because Utash is white and the mob was described as all black, many — including Utash’s son — have questioned whether the crime was racially motivated.
Defense lawyer Solomon Radner says his 16-year-old client has “sorry feelings” and the ethnic intimidation charge is unjustified.
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