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Posted on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

Attorney: Family likely to appeal court's 6-month probation sentence for teen charged in brawl

By John Counts


One of the Pioneer students accused of being involved in the Huron-Pioneer football brawl received six months of probation for his involvement. The case will be wiped from his record if he complies with probation requirements.

Daniel Brenner |

The 17-year-old student who was found responsible for an assault during the brawl that broke out after a Pioneer-Huron football game last fall was sentenced Tuesday to six months probation and a $50 fine.

Under a sentencing agreement, the incident will be expunged from the boy's record if he complies with the requirements of probation, which would involve community service. His attorney said the student will likely appeal the sentence.

"(He) is a good kid," said Shelia Blakney, the boy's public defender. "This whole incident has been very uncomfortable for him. This is a situation where the adults in his life led him astray."

The 17-year-old student was found responsible on one count of misdemeanor assault and battery on Feb. 6. He was originally charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, aggravated assault and assault and battery.

Blakney said the 17-year-old student, formerly of Pioneer and currently Ann Arbor Tech, has been distracted by becoming a public figure throughout the ordeal. The teen admitted as much when given a chance to address the court about recent poor school attendance. He said he has been suffering from "severe depression and anxiety" due to the situation.

"This is one major thing really bringing me down," he told Referee Julia Owdziej.

The boy also said he never touched Will Harris, the Huron student kicked in the face during the on-field football fight between the two high schools that began when one coach shoved the other.

Owdziej said the boy had acted appropriately throughout the court process, and that it was the coaches who had acted inappropriately on the field that night. She set a court date for Oct. 29, at which time the case could be dismissed.

But the disposition could be appealed before that happens. At issue is whether the boy struck anyone at all.

"I did not have any physical contact with Will," the boy told the court.

The defense did receive a correction to the disposition report regarding a statement in a new police report that says the boy testified to throwing punches, when in fact he never testified in court at all.

The boy's parents were both present and largely silent throughout the court proceedings. When asked for comment in the hallway outside the courtroom, the boy's father said, "My son is innocent. He's been railroaded."

The man did not wish to comment any further, but Blakney confirmed the boy's parents will likely appeal the disposition, though would not go into any further details. She said they would have to retain an attorney to start the process.

The 17-year-old is one of three students charged in the football melee, which started when coaches from Huron High School and Pioneer met after the game Oct. 12 and began a verbal altercation that turned physical when assistant coach Vince Wortmann shoved Huron head coach Cory Gildersleeve.

Wortmann was not charged because prosecutors ruled he believed he was defending Pioneer head coach Paul Test. Wortmann was fired after the incident. Both head coaches have since resigned.

Bashir Garain, the only student charged as an adult, took a plea deal earlier this month and is scheduled to be sentenced May 14.

A second 17-year-old rejected a plea offer that would have included a similar type of deferred sentencing and would have wiped his record clean if he complied with probation. His jury trial is set for June 24.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, May 1, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

If driving the get-away car during a crime in which someone is seriously injured makes the driver an accessory to that injury, then an adult instigating a melee that results in some underage teenagers following the lead of their mentors and then being criminally charged might seem to suggest that the adult instigators ought to be considered accessories to the crime......? If criminal charges seem too harsh for the instigators....because they after all are actually "nice" and "responsible" professionals who simply got a little too hot under the collar and we wouldn't want to totally ruin their lives and their careers and their reputations for such a breach of behavior....then perhaps we should rethink whether criminal charges might also be inappropriate for those who mistakenly followed the lead of the adults who were legally and administratively in charge of the situation. I think we simply need to be consistent in how we choose to mete out justice. And in what "learning experiences" we choose to offer and to whom. If we are concerned that three underage teenagers will learn that they can get away with violence, then perhaps we should also be concerned that every underage teenager involved in this situation might learn that you simply need to have enough clout and enough friends in high places, if you want to avoid consequences for the violence you choose to engage in.......


Thu, May 2, 2013 : 2:02 a.m.

12 year olds commit murder. Should we let their parents be responsible for that? Some people just do wrong. And the ACLU was there- he had his clout. The only problem is HE IS RESPONSIBLE!


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 4:35 a.m.

I never seen so many ignorant comment from so called intelligent people of Ann Arbor.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 3:55 a.m.

The family should appeal it and ask that he spend some time in jail to learn a lesson. Good for them!

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 3:01 a.m.

Who is the victim here? Is it the kid who was kicked in the face and went to the hospital? Or is it the kid the court found guilty of the crime?


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 10:31 p.m.

"... the 17-year-old student, formerly of Pioneer and currently Ann Arbor Tech, has been distracted by becoming a public figure throughout..." How can you be a public figure if no one knows your name?


Thu, May 2, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

*entire, not nature. Gotta love spellcheck.


Thu, May 2, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

When you brag about your heinous actions in the locker room to your nature team, word kinda gets around. Poor baby.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

Do you think no one at Pioneer High School knows who he is?


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 10:26 p.m.

It seems very appropriate to wonder what clear evidence beyond a reasonable doubt exists to show that these three 17-year-olds, and only these three 17-year-olds, had criminal intent and engaged in criminal behavior. In a melee involving hundreds, dozens of whom engaged in various levels of out-of-contrl behavior, it seems appropriate to ask what quality of evidence in the midst of such a melee allows making such a pointed determination regarding criminal intent and activity regarding only three. Having witnessed a few such melees myself, it seems to stretch credibility just a bit that on the continuum of inappropriate behavior that was occurring, somehow it would be possible to draw a bright line for the behavior of these three young men. It also seems very appropriate to wonder why we as a community believe that it is appropriate to criminally charge underage 17-year-olds in this incident, but don't believe that it is appropriate to criminally charge the adults whose behavior instigated the incident. Serious consequences should be felt by all. Criminal prosecution is way beyond that. If criminal prosecution is appropriate, then it seems only appropriate that we as a community be certain that leaders as well as followers have the opportunity to feel the same consequences.


Thu, May 2, 2013 : 1:58 a.m.

Wondering its clear evidence on video and several witnesses. The kid stomped on another kid's face then went in the locker room and BRAGGED about it! How sad is that? What else do you need? I think there would be some people still making excuses for this kid if they were there, which they WERE NOT!


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 3:57 a.m.

He got probation! What else do you want? The only thing less is off scott free and more is jail...................

John Floyd

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 3:55 a.m.

Whether it was hundreds, or merely dozens, I think Wondering has a point. These kids were let down by the adults in their lives, and seem to be scape goats for the coaches, athletic directors, teachers, and principals of the schools who let these kids down. It also seems apparent that they were not receiving adequate life guidance in their out-of-school lives, either. It's not that 6 months probation and expunging is unfair or inappropriate per se. It's that these three kids are carrying the guilt of everyone else involved, starting with the adults on whom they depended - that's what is unfair. This could have been a teachable moment for the entire school community, about not just what what behavior is and is not appropriate, but about what violence does to the humanity of everyone it touches, beater or beaten. Life is a social enterprise, and de-humanizing each other this way brings everyone down. Confusing an athletic competition with a measuring of anyone's human worth is the kind of mistake that high-school age people make. Instead of having school-wide discussions about this, and the chance for these young men - and the other, uncharged, students on the field - to reflect constructively on whatever their behavior was, all we have is I-win-you-lose courtroom drama without any real learning by any of the dozens or hundreds of youth inolved. There is a place for the legal system to place boundaries on people's behavior. That doesn't make it the appropriate venue for all human problems, especially when youths are involved. Add the people in the county prosecutor's office to the list of people who let the kids at our high schools down.

Ricardo Queso

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 2:42 a.m.

"Hundreds"? Not an "appropriate" assumption.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 12:17 a.m.

He could have asked for a public trial and a jury. The evidence would have come out. To many of us, anyone 17 is an adult and should be prosecuted as an adult. I wish they'd put him on trial and given him a much harsher sentence if convicted.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 10:20 p.m.

"He was originally charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, aggravated assault and assault and battery." But, was found responsible of assault, fined $50.00 and six month probation. Does anyone else think this kid was overcharged?


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.



Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 9:46 p.m.

Typical Ozonian slap on the wrist...Morris's ghost..the motto here is " do the crime ..and pay no time "...


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

In my opinion WRESTLING is the sport that builds character. When you lose your matches you can't blame it on anyone but yourself. And if you retaliate for some supposed illigal move and get caught you are pealized on the spot. Be it forfeiture or points talken away from you.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

The young man pleaded NOT GUILTY. Last I knew the Constitution says he has every right to fight for his innocence. My hope is that he succeeds in this endeavor. If I could tell him one thing it would be stay strong, make good decisions, and fight the good fight. You have more people in your corner then you probably even know about. There's no sweeter revenge then a life of success.


Thu, May 2, 2013 : 1:55 a.m.

Concerned, the young man was found RESPONSIBLE. He stomped on a kids head, then went in the locker room to brag about it. Lots of witnesses. Why planet are you on? What if it was your kid whose head was stomped? The best choice he could make is to own up to the responsibility for his actions. No one made him do anything. But he did it anyways, and he will do it AGAIN unless someone gets him to be responsible. The parents are truly doing their kid wrong. I was on a jury once, where the defense said the youngster was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He got off, but then was back in court the NEXT WEEK on assault with a deadly weapon charges. He played stupid the first time, not so lucky the next. 6 months is NOTHING! No record. Or is it that he just can't get through it unscathed because he's ALREADY done something else. My kids a good kid- he doesn't stomp on other people's faces. He knows better at a younger age.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 8:14 p.m.

Robert E I am patronizing no one! I tell things the way I see them. Different from you ? No doubt.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 4:46 a.m.

People can say what they want to say on here. There are a lot of people making comment that are purely just evil and mean. That young man stood up for him self and made sure it was on record that he did not hit that boy. I hope he looks back on this and be proud. We all know these boy were railroad, just like his father said. Its sad that it had to go this far only to have it be nothing in the end. There will be no record of this on none of these young men. This should have been handled in the schools, the coaches should have been held accountable for they're action while these young men were under they're watch. Just a waste of money and time for everyone. Michigan is definitely showing it needs money by bring forth cases that will end up never existing in the end.

Robert E.

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 2:29 a.m.

Yes Concerned...jcj often feels the need to unnecessarily patronize and make broad pronouncements rather than look at the complexities of a situation...especially when we're talkin about a kid...


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 10:26 p.m.

Well jcj, you obviously have few facts about the criminal justice system in this country. A dictionary will not teach you very much. For sure you know none of the facts in this case. I sat through this young man's trial, which was no trial at all.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

I have never seen a sentence handed down without some sort of verdict. Responsible seems to mean the same as Guilty.Prison is FULL of criminals who still claim their innocence! World English Dictionary guilty (???lt?) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide] — adj , guiltier , guiltiest 1. responsible for an offence or misdeed

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 8:28 p.m.

Help me understand this. I thought he accepted that he was guilty of the crime and accepted the sentence described in the article? Did he or did he not plead guilty and accept the sentence of the court? Is there a distinction in this case? I would like to see this go to trial and be resolved. Let a jury decide.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 4:33 a.m.

No this young man did not plea guilty. He was tried before the Magistracy and she found him guilty of assault and battery but not of the original charges the police had charged him with in the beginning.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

I wonder what kind of student he was before this incident????????????????

Nick Danger

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 7:52 p.m.

From this day on,I am no longe a supporter of this young man.It seems that accepting responsibility is no longe an option


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 4:51 a.m.

He is already and has been supported by a group of supporters who have been there for him from day one. He can't miss what he never had


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 7:14 p.m.

This would be a stupid decision by the boy and his family. Stay clean for 6th months and this entire incident is over and done with like it never even happened. By appealing the decision you are dragging it on and keeping yourself in the public spotlight, something is admittedly causing depression and as a result poor school attendance.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 6:18 p.m.

I doubt they would appeal just to get rid of the 6 months probation and $50 fine. I'd bet whatever statement that the boy said he threw punches shouldn't have been included in the disposition report and his lawyer thinks that's enough to throw out the decision. Either that, or if anything comes out of the appeal they might say that the arrest and all subsequent actions in the legal system were motivated by racism and they will sue the police department and the city for the "severe depression and anxiety" the boy suffered as a result of him being unfairly prosecuted due to his skin color. They already got the ACLU in their corner. Why pay a fine and do probation for kicking someone in the head if you can file a frivolous lawsuit and get a fat check for kicking someone in the head?

jackson west

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.

His sentence would have been more severe if Huron had a better football team.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:46 p.m.

Want to appeal? Then all bets should be off and go back to court!


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:44 p.m.

"This is a situation where the adults in his life led him astray." I hope you are including his parents in that group of adults! They may have taught him as well as they could and he still got involved. BUT for his father to be saying at this point he was railroaded sounds like the parents of the two men that bombed the Boston marathon! With his parents refusing to act like adults this kid does not have much of a chance of overcoming that!

Usual Suspect

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

Hi didn't.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

I'm surprised and disappointed that you compare this boy to the Boston bombing suspects.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

This is nothing more than a refusal to take responsibility for one's decisions. "This is a situation where the adults in his life led him astray." looks like his parents and attorney are continuing the trend. Poor me and blame everyone else won't get you far in life. Face the consequences, you got off light.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

$50 fine for an assault charge? That's Ann Arbor for ya! They might as well decriminalize crime in Ann Arbor.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

To me this just translates to: Deep down I know I cannot complete a successful probationary term by not violating the terms to expunge this from my record.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

To John Counts: I'm curious about this statement, can you elaborate? "The defense did receive a correction to the disposition report regarding a statement in a new police report that says the boy testified to throwing punches, when in fact he never testified in court at all." Also, I've heard that the victim, Will Harris, made a statement that he does not know who kicked him. Did you hear any evidence of that in the court proceedings? I'm trying to figure out what evidence there is that determined that the boy charged was linked to injuring Will Harris. Thank you.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 10:40 p.m.

Trespass, I doubt you can FOIA a police interview with a minor.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

John & Kyle- I have seen many police reports that do not match the video from the police cars. I would say that police reports are notoriously inaccurate. The police know the elements of the crime that they will have to prove. They make sure the police report is consistent with those elements. Did the police record the interview? If so have you put in a FOIA request for the recording? If they did not record the interview, why not? I wouldn't give any credibility to anything that was reportedly said but was not recorded.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

PhillyCheeseSteak- Will told police he knew of two players on Pioneer's team that had the same cleats as him. Those were the cleats he observed kicking him during the brawl, according to the police report.

John Counts

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

Also, there was no testimony in the court proceedings today.

John Counts

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:06 p.m.

Statements taken by police during interviews for their report and statements made as testimony in court are two different things. A statement the boy allegedly made to police admitting he threw punches was included in an updated police report included in the case file. In the sentencing report, it stated the boy "testified" to this, when in fact it was just in the police report. The defense asked for this to be corrected. These court proceedings can get quite complicated.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

"Under a sentencing agreement, the incident will be expunged from the boy's record if he complies with the requirements of probation, which would involve community service." Actually, that's pretty sweet deal. If I were his age, the one thing I would worry about is having it on my record permanently. When you think about it, this is a slap on the wrist. Take the deal and move on.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 6:56 p.m.

"My baby didn't do nuffin."

shadow wilson

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

What a disservice his parents are doing to their son. If he were completely innocent he would not have agreed to let the court handle the matter, And had he been railroaded as his father claims he would not have been involved at all i.e. he would have ran on the opposite sad that parents are so blind to the damage they are doing.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

Charging the kids without charging the adults is just another example of the County Prosecutor's Office being biased in their use of discretion.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Posters who were not at the game can only fantasize about how the brawl started.

Usual Suspect

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 1:21 a.m.

One person pushing another person does not incite a riot, except in some fantasy land.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 10:57 p.m.

Jay, I said the decision seemed fair. About the coaches... It looked to me like a serious beat down by a much bigger coach over a smaller one was about to occur before a 3rd coach intervened. From what I saw with my own eyes, the coaches incited a riot.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 6:55 p.m.

If someone pushed me I would not file charges against them. Would you file charges if someone deliberately stomped you on your face? I think they did...


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 6:02 p.m.

The coaches started and incited the brawl. They and AAPS should be held accountable. That being said, if the 17 year old was responsible for cleating the young Mr. Harris, I believe that the decision was fair.

Mr. Ed

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

This is getting old. Take your punishment and move on. If your a good boy you'll recover and move on with your life.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 2:52 a.m.

might alleviate some of the stress and anxiety too.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 1:07 a.m.

I could not agree more with this. It is a slap on the wrist, pick up trash from the highway, take in clothes at the Salvation Army and the time will pass quickly. Then it will be time served. Might do the boy some good.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

You have no right to an a appeal when you plea guilty. You can only hope the appeals court will hear it. In this case I hope it move to more important matters

Usual Suspect

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Wondering how it is Cheesie knows so much about how the juvenile court system works.

John Counts

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

You're right, he was found responsible, PhillyCheeseSteak. Juvenile court operates differently than adult court.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:50 p.m.

He did not plead guilty.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:05 p.m.

"His attorney said the student will likely appeal the sentence." IMO this means he should be charged as an adult...


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

I thought playing football was supposed to build character in young men. All I've seen in this story is immature adults and teenagers not taking responsibility for their actions which are clearly caught on tape.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:06 p.m.

When I played HS football in AA, we'd have gotten out tails kicked if we did anything stupid like this.

tom swift jr.

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

"(He) is a good kid," said Shelia Blakney, the boy's public defender. "This whole incident has been very uncomfortable for him. This is a situation where the adults in his life led him astray." I was once involved with a program that had regular involvement with 'public defenders' and child advocates who were working with behaviorally troubled youth. Many of these adults did a respectable job of facilitating a young persons efforts to change and improve, and their efforts showed fruit over time. However, I also frequently ran into those defenders/advocates who would, no matter what the facts were, make excuses for the actions of their wards and place the blame for the behaviors on others. When they "lost" whatever the effort was about, the young person continued to take no responsibility and just blamed the system for this injustice, because that defender/advocate convinced them they had no responsibility. When they "won", they went on to repeat the behavior, because there is no consequence for the wrong decision.