3 teens charged with lying to PD probing deadly shooting

Muskegon County

An undated courtesy photo of Mervin Bonner Jr.

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Three teenagers are facing charges for allegedly lying to authorities investigating the deadly shooting of a Muskegon High School graduate.

Mervin Bonner Jr. was shot and killed on Aug. 25 — the day before he was supposed to start classes at Muskegon Community College.

Mervin Bonner
Photos of Mervin Bonner at his mother’s home in Muskegon. (Aug. 26, 2019)

Muskegon police called to 7th Street near W. Grand Avenue found Bonner lying in the road with a gunshot wound to his head. He died at the scene.

So far, no one has been charged in the murder. However, Muskegon County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Tim Maat confirmed 19-year-old Jainautica Watkins, 17-year-old DeMarcus Franklin and Jaun Bates are all charged with lying to a peace officer in a violent crime investigation. The alleged crimes happened at separate times during the investigation, beginning four days after the shooting and as recent as Sept. 6.

A booking photo of Jainautica Watkins. (Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office)

Franklin and Bates’ next court dates are Oct. 1 Watkins is due in court on Oct. 10.

Bonner’s cousin said he was a straight-A student who was working to earn a degree in business. His family has called on the community to stop the shootings and break the code of silence surrounding the investigation.

Anyone with information in this case can contact the Muskegon Police Department at 231.724.6750 or Silent Observer at 231.722.7463.

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