Records: Suspect Evaded Arrest Days Before Michigan State Student’s Murder
SALINE (WWJ/AP) – Records show a Washtenaw County teenager accused of murdering a Michigan State University sophomore could have been arrested before the student’s death.
Information obtained through a Freedom of Information Act by The Ann Arbor News shows that Saline police had a chance to arrest 18-year-old Tyrel Bredernitz on an alleged probation violation and possible violation of a personal protection order just days before 19-year-old Dustyn Frolka was killed.
Police say they went to the teen’s apartment on Feb. 12 and knocked on the door, but Bredernitz didn’t answer. Officers then notified court officials and the teen’s probation officer before closing the case. Three days later, Frolka was found partially clothed and clinging to life alongside on I-69 in Bath Township. He later died at the hospital.
Bredernitz, who earlier turned down a plea deal, faces trial later this month for charges of felony murder, unarmed robbery and conspiracy to commit unarmed robbery.
Co-defendant, 18-year old Samantha Grigg, was sentenced in May to spend up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter and unarmed robbery. She agreed to testify against Bredernitz and another defendant, 17-year-old Brendan 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 with brass knuckles.
“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.
Heim and Bredernitz are due back in court next week for a pretrial hearing. Their trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 17.
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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