KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — A man charged with murdering a 13-year-old in Kentwood last month said he shot at people he found in his stolen car, court documents show.
Jamarion McCuller, 13-year-old Alger Middle School student, was shot and killed on 29th Street SE near Broadmoor Avenue SE on the evening of March 12.
In a probable cause document filed in court in Kentwood, investigators wrote that the shooter, Justin House, was detained at the scene of the shooting.
Authorities said they learned while interviewing him that he had found a car that he had reported stolen earlier on March 12. When the people in that car started running away, House gave chase, the document says. He told investigators he fired one shot at the people he was chasing.
Jamarion died of a single gunshot wound to the torso, the document says.
Witnesses and surveillance video supported House’s statement that he fired only once.
House was initially held in the shooting but released March 14 because the prosecutor told investigators he needed more information before deciding whether to pursue charges.
The prosecutor told News 8 Tuesday he was issuing a charge of second-degree murder against House.
Defense attorney James King says there is still much to be uncovered in the case.
“I will say I don’t believe there is a right to use deadly force to defend property and I don’t think that Mr. House is trying to assert that at this juncture,” King said. “At the point in time that these two cars happened to be around each other, Mr. House was with his significant other and his 1-year-old child. So that kind of pressure in and of itself can cause a lot to happen in the heat of passion from both sides.”
House, 31, of Grand Rapids, turned himself in to authorities Wednesday morning and was arraigned Wednesday afternoon. He pleaded not guilty. Though his defense pointed out that he has no criminal records — which Michigan State Police records confirm — and noted that he has a job and has complied with police so far, the judge set House’s bond at $2 million cash surety, citing the seriousness of the charge.
“We would have much rather a lower bond but I’m not going to undermine the judge, though. She did make statements in regard to protecting the public and I respect that because that’s her job,” King said.
Moving forward, a conference has been scheduled for May 2 and a preliminary examination for May 9.
Jamarion’s mother acknowledged to News 8 earlier this month that her son was a passenger in the stolen car but said that he didn’t deserve to die.
“If it went how it did, you should have just found the car and stood there and called the police and waited for the police to come,” Sharee Kendricks said. “There was no reason a gun should have been involved and nobody’s kid should be dead, especially not mine. It wasn’t your job to pursue like you were an officer… I would rather see my son in jail than dead.”
—News 8’s Susan Samples and Whitney Burney contributed to this report.