ST. JOHNS, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – One of the three Saline teenagers charged with the murder of a Michigan State University student has reportedly turned down a plea deal with prosecutors in Clinton County.
Eighteen-year-old Tyrel Bredernitz will take his chances at a September trial. He’s charged with the February death of MSU sophomore Dustyn Frolka.
Frolka was beaten with brass knuckles and robbed before he jumped from a moving SUV on I-69 in Bath Township, near Lansing. When officers arrived on the scene, Frolka was partially clothed and was in “respiratory distress.” He was rushed to Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Bredernitz and 16-year-old Brendan Heim, who is undergoing competency proceedings, are charged with murder and unarmed robbery. Both are from Saline.
Another defendant, 18-year old Samantha Grigg, was sentenced last month to up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter and unarmed robbery. She agreed to testify against Bredernitz and Heim during their trials.
Grigg testified in Clinton County Circuit Court that she, Bredernitz and Heim traveled to East Lansing with plans to beat up and rob Frolka, although she didn’t say how they knew him. Grigg told the court that she drove Frolka to ATMs before the others started beating him.
“Brendan began to punch him in the back seat of the car and Dustyn opened the door and went out of the car,” she testified, adding that the SUV was going between 45 and 60 MPH when he jumped. “I stopped on the highway and at that point, Tyrel and Brendan went outside the car – took his clothing and his money and came back to the car.”
Prosecutors have said illegal drug money was a motive for the robbery.
Frolka was a talented rapper but “had been on kind of a downward spiral” since the fall, according to fellow hip-hop musician Blake Selby. Selby told reporters that he signed Frolka to the Lansing-based label he runs, though they later parted ways.
MSU police arrested Frolka for cocaine possession on Jan. 31, according to court records. He was then kicked out of his dorm because of actions that were deemed a threat to the safety of other residents, the university said.
According to Frolka’s Twitter page, the student mentioned drug use in the hours before his death, tweeting “I’ve never done DMT and tonight is about to change s***.” DMT acts as an intense hallucinogenic drug when ingested.
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