HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (AP) — A 37-year-old father irate over hearing his 15-year-old son had sexual contact with a 3-year-old girl made the teen strip at gunpoint, marched him to a vacant lot and shot him to death despite pleas from the boy and his mother, a relative said.
Defense attorney Corbett O’Meara said prosecutors should consider evidence of the father’s state of mind over the sex abuse report.
“If something were to happen that would cause a reasonable person to lose control of himself, that is something the prosecution would have to take into account,” O’Meara said outside Highland Park District Court.
Tensions were high in the courtroom Wednesday as the handcuffed suspect was led into the room for the arraignment, which lasted less than a minute.
“No, No, No,” one female relative cried before a police officer escorted her out.
Judge Brigette Officer entered a not guilty plea for Pinkney, who’s also charged with assault, and ordered him jailed without bond until a preliminary examination Dec. 1.
“This is something that’s hard to deal with for all the parties concerned, including the police,” police Chief Ted Caldwell said afterward. “Highland Park is a small city. These are people who have been members of the community for years.”
Caldwell said the sexual misconduct allegation that led to the confrontation wasn’t part of the police investigation.
The shooting happened Monday night in a vacant lot in the once-prosperous city of 16,000, where decay, abandonment, fires and demolition have eaten away at many of the sprawling homes. Highland Park recently exited years of state financial oversight.
Visitors built an impromptu memorial at the shooting site. Two votive candles sat amid 10 stuffed animals, including two white teddy bears with red hearts embroidered with, “I love you.”
The boy’s mother, Lazette Cherry, told the Detroit Free Press that her son told her he had improper sexual contact with the girl.
“I called and told his father. This isn’t something you sweep under the rug,” she said.
Cherry said the elder Pinkney arrived at the home with a gun, ordered his son to strip and marched him outside despite her protests.
“He got on his knees and begged, ‘No, Daddy, No,’ and he pulled the trigger,” Cherry said.
Cherry did not immediately respond to a message Wednesday from The Associated Press seeking comment.
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