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Posted on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 3:05 p.m.

Man convicted in fatal shooting of former Saline athlete is sentenced to more than 5 years in prison

By Lee Higgins

An Ypsilanti Township man who fatally shot a man last summer in a Kmart parking lot in the township was sentenced Wednesday to a minimum of five and a half years and maximum of 15 years in prison, court records show.

Michael D. Crockett, 20, was sentenced in Washtenaw County Circuit Court after pleading guilty last month to manslaughter in the July 25 death of 20-year-old Chris King of Ypsilanti Township.

Michael_Deshawn_Crockett .jpg

Michael D. Crockett

King, a former track star at Saline High School, was fatally shot in the back at about 4 p.m. during a robbery outside the Kmart on Washtenaw Avenue, county sheriff's deputies said.

Crockett's half-brother, 17-year-old Charles Pippins, was sentenced Wednesday to a year of probation after pleading guilty in the case to being an accessory after the fact to a felony, records show.

Their mother, Tina Crockett, was sentenced Wednesday to two years probation after also pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact to a felony.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at


Billy Buchanan

Tue, May 3, 2011 : 2:20 a.m.

If I was the athlete's father I'm afraid this individuals sentence would still be waiting for him when he is released from prison. That would be a death sentence. I'd be glad to serve five years for passing that sentence.

keisha s

Sun, May 1, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

First of all, I hope everyone prayed for both families as quick as u posted a comment. My heart goes out to both the young men. But how can u comment until u are faced with this situation, you are a mother first, therefore u dont think clearly, but this young woman did what probably any of us parents would have done, try to figure out the best thing first, that s the only thing she s guilty of not killing someone, so think and pray before u make a comment on something u havent been through, just my opinion, and yes I m close to both families so no taking sides. it s all a tragedy on both ends. On that note be blessed.


Sun, May 1, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

So, Chris's life was only worth 5 years? That's insane. but yet those who rob a store get more. something is really wrong.


Sun, May 1, 2011 : 4:40 a.m.

I would like to reinforce what Ricebrnr said - with what I hope is an insight. Not only does this sentence shock us, it causes many people to think about the actual event and some will be able to put themselves in the victim's shoes. That is, what if Mr. King had a cpl and had been carrying his pistol for self defense? This case would have had a different outcome and the young man who shot Mr. King might have been the one to die instead. If I were a relative of Mr. King's, I'd be feeling betrayed by the prosecutor and judge in this trial. I'd also be thinking that, given the verdict and sentence, it seems truer than ever that "when seconds count, the police are just - minutes- away." (adding: and justice is absent altogether) Cases like this one make me glad I have the training and the concealed pistol license and one of the best pistols for self defense. I never want my last moment on Earth to be spent thinking in panic: "Oh God, he's got a gun and I'm defenseless!" My sincere sympathy for the family of Mr. King.


Sun, May 1, 2011 : 1:10 a.m.

Rest in peace, Chris King.


Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

All of these people commenting and questioning the sentence are not the police or investigators and don't know the case.

Fat Bill

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 4:48 a.m.

Per an story on the the plea from April 1st, looks like this was the Honorable Archie Brown, despite the Melinda Morris-like sentence...


Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 4:24 a.m.

Anybody think this is the last we heard of Mr. Crockett? Nope? Me either.


Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

I watched Chris King run track and field at Saline High School, he was a talented,gifted and respectful young man. There is obviously more to the story than what is printed here but the bottom line is he was shot in the back as he ran away from his killer and this guy get a max 15 years. It should be 150 years. Good Day


Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 12:15 a.m.

Like I said, criminals don't fear the law. They fear citizens willing and able to meet force with force. Good luck out there.


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

5 YEARS?!? I don't see any circumstance in which this punishment could be rationalized as acceptable. The judges in this county are a joke. This kid will be back on the streets in a few years doing the same thing again.


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 11:31 p.m.

Yes, the sentences seem very light. Without more of the facts, etc..., really hard to tell. And, remember, the prosecutor has to sign off on this before it ever reaches the judge. There's got to be a lot more to this story than what is printed here. And to those commentators who think prison is a picnic with three square meals again, you're just dead wrong. I do a lot of work inside Michigan prisons. They are grim, dangerous places without, among other things, pool tables and the other common myths that some folks are perpetuating here.

Momma G

Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 9 p.m.

Yes, there is definitely something wrong with the judicial system in these cases. 5 1/2 to 15 is nothing and he'll be out in 2 1/2 yrs. to do the same thing. Who are these judges and prosecutors. We need the names and we need to be able to RECALL them. They are contributing to the state of our country by allowing these criminals to commit these crimes.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 10:37 a.m.

not that it matters but I think he does have to serve the minimum.


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 8:52 p.m.

This man committed armed robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a crime, and first degree murder, shooting a man in the back. I cannot believe he was allowed to plead down to manslaughter. It appears that his victim's life did not hold much value in the eyes of the court.


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 8:47 p.m.

What the...! 5 years minimum. How can this be???

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 8:32 p.m.

Four years for shaking a parrot - five and one half for killing a man. What is wrong with this picture?


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 11:54 p.m.

Agreed. Judges and Prosecutors in our County seemm determined to give dangerous criminals the most lenient sentences they can.


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.

This story really needs to have the Judges name included. This is crazy!


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

Glad I am not the parent of the victem otherwise these comments would be under my picture.


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.

And I'm sure you would get more then 5 years. Even tho I completely agree with you.


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

Right, this is why MI needs chain gangs. Make prison sentences hell on earth and people will think twice. Jail is not scary, in some cases its glorified, for most they have 3 meals a day, cable TV, gym, horseshoes, pool tables ect. Not that it is fun, it is just not terrifying. If that mother was possibly facing 10 years of super hard labor for 1.00 a day, I bet she goes to work at Kmart instead of robbing their customers. All prison is, is college for criminals, they go and work out and study and get ideas on how to not get caught next time. Prisons should, for the most part, be self sufficient with all the inmates working their you know whats off to make sure that prisons across the country are maintained. Unions would not have this though. Give me a work crew of convicted offenders, and without abusing them, I will make them never want to commit a crime again by making them realize it is better to go work a Kmart for $8 an hour rather than work the hardest they ever have before for $1 a day.


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

Why even print this story without mentioning what judge signed off on this rediculous plea bargain. Please publish the name of the judge and prosector involved in this case. Do your job and find out why he plead guilty to manslaughter instead going to trial on the murder charge. This is an outrage, has this newspaper contacted the victim's familty to get their opinion. This newspaper spent most of the week doing the most indepth story in the history of this rag because of a couple ducks got killed, a young man lost his life and this story is the best we get. WOW WOW WOW, I'm disgusted.

Jimmy McNulty

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 10:45 a.m.

Couldn't have said it better SW40. How did this go from murder case to.......a murderer who will be out by 2016. (or likely 2015 with time served). What is the backstory???


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

Does it surprises anyone ? We have some of the weakest judges in Washtenaw County.


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

You got to be kidding! 5 years for fatally shooting someone in the back while committing an (armed) robbery. Good thing he didn't run over any ducklings when making his escape.


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

He killed a young man and got 5-1/2 to 15 years. His mother and half brother were accessories after the fact and got probation. There's something wrong with all three of these sentences.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

Wow... just wow... nothing else to say.