DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A 14-year-old boy has been charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery in the fatal shooting of a French street artist whose body was discovered a year ago near an abandoned Detroit public housing project.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says the boy was 13 when he, 17-year-old Dionte Travis, 18-year-old Jasin Curtis and 20-year-old Drequone Rich killed 23-year-old Paris native Bilal Berreni.
The boy — whose name has not been released — appeared in court Thursday, and the judge ordered him detained until a probable cause hearing Sept. 11.
Worthy says the teen is being designated as an adult in the juvenile court system. That means that, if he’s convicted, a judge could sentence him as juvenile, as an adult or as a juvenile for a period and then later as an adult.
It was a murder mystery that made national headlines when Berreni’s body was found July 4, 2013, outside the dilapidated Frederick Douglass Homes — more commonly knows at the Brewster projects.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner determined Berreni had died from a gunshot wound to the head, but no identification was found on Berreni’s body. It took Michigan State Police seven months to identify him through fingerprints.
According to family members, the young artist — who painted large pieces in black and white on buildings — had been living in Detroit at the time of his death, occasionally squatting in vacant structures.
Worthy said evidencing tying the four suspects to Berreni’s death will come out during pre-trial proceedings.
The 14-year-old defendant remains held at the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility.
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