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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The brother and sister accused in the murder of Lance Byers in an apparent road rage attack in February will go to trial for his murder.
There was some speculation that Jeanette and Jountay Davis would be offered a plea agreement at Thursday's status conference for the murder charges they face.
But the speculation was just that -- there won't be any deal. Judge Paul Sullivan told the packed courtroom Thursday afternoon that there would not be any conferences and no plea deals were offered to either defendant. The Davis siblings will go to trial.
Byers was shot and killed after a traffic accident on Lafayette and State streets in downtown Grand Rapids at about 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 21. Byers was heading to his job at DHS.
The suspects' family members filled every seat on one side of the courtroom. Many of them wore T-shirts imprinted with the faces of the brother and sister accused. The suspects' mom and grandmother stressed to 24 Hour News 8 that pair were upset about the death of their great grandmother on the day Byers was killed.
The suspects' mother told 24 Hour News 8 that she was upset that her children would not be offered any kind of a deal.
"They're not straight-out mass murderers," their mother said. She declined to go on camera or identify herself to 24 Hour News 8.
She said her children are just kids and called the whole incident an "ugly mistake."
She went to say that her kids are "not just some gang bangers." She said they were both upset because their great grandmother had recently died. She called them "loving young adults."
Byers' cousin Gloria Byers said in a phone interview that she's happy the Davis siblings weren't offered a plea agreement. She said this serves as an example to other young people that they should think before they do something.
"It's good to know that the are going to be some consequences for the actions that were executed," Byers said. "These young people have to understand and know that when you do something there are consequences."
She went on to say that even though the Davis siblings are young, "my cousin was young he didn't deserve to die, he was young. He started off, he has a child has a young a child he helped raise, so how did that come into play?"
She also said she does feel some sympathy for the Davis siblings' family, because now her family and theirs has to go through this.
"You messed up not only my cousin's life and our family's, but your own family and yourself," said Gloria Byers. "My goodness, you could all be really strong, good people young people that could really be showing some stuff in your community and instead you decided to do something really, really stupid because you didn't think."
The suspects' mom also said outside of the courtroom that Byers was an older man who "should have known," but then she was stopped by another family member who told her "not to go there."
Their mom then went on to say that she has visited both of them in jail and they are praying and reading scriptures. The scripture written on family members' T-shirts was Proverbs 3:26 , apparently Jeanette's favorite.
A trial date has not yet been set.
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