GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The 19-year-old who represented himself in a murder trial will spend the rest of his life in prison.
A jury deliberated less than 30 minutes Thursday morning before finding Mitchell Savickas guilty of first-degree felony murder, armed robbery and felony use of a firearm in the January shooting death of 17-year-old Isaiah Blue.
Savickas never denied he shot the Kelloggsville student, but claimed he acted in self-defense believing the victim was armed.
On Aug. 3, Savickas will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole which will begin only after he serves two years on the gun charge.
Over the course of the two-day trial, Savickas admitted 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 gonna die,” Savickas said during his testimony on Wednesday. “It was just a matter of time before I was gonna get shot.”
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 failed 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 claimed 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.