DETROIT (WWJ) – A young man changed in the shooting death of a Detroit police officer has taken a plea deal, ending his murder trial.
Marquis Cromer, 22, pleaded no contest – guilty but mentally ill to a second degree murder charges, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office announced Thursday.
Authorities said, on September 12, 2016, 46-year-old Sgt. Ken Steil was chasing Cromer — a suspected carjacker — on foot outside an east side gas station when Cromer fired at Steil with a sawed off shotgun.
Steil suffered a gunshot wound to his shoulder and Cromer was arrested at the scene.
Steil was recovering and was talking about returning to the force when he died suddenly from complications shortly before he was supposed to be released from the hospital.
Early court proceedings in the case were briefly delayed when authorities said Cromer was so uncooperative and combative that he avoided appearing for a probable cause hearing at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice. Cromer was then photographed laughing and giving a thumbs up during a preliminary hearing last May.
As part of his plea, Cromer faces 38 and 75 years in prison when he is sentenced next week.
Cromer also pleaded no contest to other assault and carjacking charges and sever an additional five to 30 years behind bars for those crimes.
Steil, who left behind a wife and two sons, was a veteran officer, nicknamed Shark” for his diving skills.
Following the sergeant’s death Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Steil had “served the department and the citizens of the city of Detroit with great dedication, honor and exemplary service for over 20 years.”