Final 3 Plead Guilty To Reduced Charges In Detroit Mob Beating
DETROIT (WWJ) – There won’t be a trial as all five charged in the case of a suburban man beaten by a mob in Detroit have now pleaded guilty to reduced charges.
The final three: 19-year-old Latrez Cummings, 24-year-old James Davis, and 30-year-old Wonzey Saffold each pleaded to a charge of assault to do great bodily harm less than murder, Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court.
The three all admitted they participated in the attack on 54-year-old Steven Utash, who got out of his truck to help a young boy he’d hit with his pickup truck in April.
Prosecutors dropped attempted murder charges against all three as part of a plea deal.
This latest comes after, on Wednesday, the teen who threw the first punches entered a plea in juvenile court. In exchange, prosecutors dropped an ethnic intimidation charge against the 17-year-old; and he agreed to testify against his co-defendants if the case went to trial.
The teen’s attorney said his client regrets his actions and denies the attack was racially motivated. Utash is white, and the mob was described as all black.
An older teen, charged as an adult, pleaded guilty to assault Monday in an agreement with prosecutors. The 18-year-old Bruce Wimbush, who was 17 at the time of the attack, also agreed to testify in exchange for a reduction from the original charge of assault with intent to murder.
Utash, 54, spent days in a coma and was sent home in May after six weeks of hospitalization after the beating in which witnesses said up to a dozen people took part. He’s still recovering from a brain injury.
The boy Utash struck with his truck was treated for a broken leg.
While it was widely reported the beating might have been a hate crime, Saffold’s attorney, Ray Paige, maintains that this was not an ethnic intimidation case.
“I never saw nowhere, in all the discovery that we had, that they’d targeted Mr. Utash because he’s white,” Paige said.
“A kid was hit by a car and the community was out in the streets, and they were outraged by the fact — wrongfully —about his ordeal, and they attacked the man; and they should not have done that,” Paige said. “But if he had been a black male, the same thing probably would’ve happened to him.”
[Catch up on case HERE].