GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The 19-year-old murder suspect accused of using an assault rifle to kill an unarmed 17-year-old in January, called himself to the stand as the two-day trial ended Wednesday.
Mitchell Savickas admits he shot Isaiah Blue, admits he demanded the teen empty his pockets before shooting and admits the victim had his hands in the air when he was shot.
Nonetheless, Savickas tried to convince a jury that he acted in self-defense.
“I thought I was going to die,” Savickas said during his testimony. “It was just a matter of time before I was going to get shot.”
Savickas denied that he was a gang member, but said he has several family members affiliated with the Mexican Mob.
As a result, he fears for his life and said he carries guns to protect himself.
“I always have worst case scenarios in my mind. I’m going to be ready for anything,” Savickas said. “The times I didn’t go with my instincts, bad things happen to me.”
Savickas said he knew Blue from Kelloggsville High School and had a minor scuffle with him in juvenile detention.
“I know he don’t like me and I don’t like him,” the defendant said of the victim.
Savickas said he spotted Blue as he rode the bus with friends on South Division Avenue going from 28th Street to 44th Street on Jan. 27.
Savickas admitted that hours before that he was talking with friends about going out to “hit some licks” — slang for committing robberies.
But Savickas tried to convince the jury that he believed Blue was armed when the two came face to face at a bus stop on 44th Street.
“I said empty your pockets like a sarcastic statement, basically, because I knew what he had in his pocket,” he testified.
Savickas admitted that Blue put his hands in the air and backed away when the defendant pointed the AR-15-style Mossberg .44 caliber rifle at him.
The defendant said he believed that Blue was going to go for a weapon so he shot him in the chest.
Savickas said he blacked out after the first shot when Blue was fatally shot three more times in the back.
Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Kevin Bramble mocked the defendant’s claim that he blacked out as “convenient” during cross examination
“He can remember everything that occurred before, everything that occurred after he shot him three times in the back, because that’s what buries him here, ladies and gentleman of the jury,” Bramble said. “The simple fact of the matter is he hunted Isiah Blue down and gunned him down.”
But the defendant said he feels like he did what he had to do.
“I felt like my life was in danger.” Savickas said. “I don’t feel guilty.”
But what matters is whether a jury feels he is not guilty.
The jury left at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and is expected to return at 9 a.m. Thursday to start again. Savickas faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.