5 Niles teens arraigned on chargesPublished 4:17pm Thursday, May 12, 2011
Arraigned in court today, Parnell Martin, Leon Murphy, Martise Washington and Trey Nichols, all 18, and Martell Miller, 17, face a number of criminal charges stemming from a six-week police investigation including criminal sexual conduct in the first degree — a felony with a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Each were arrested this morning, four of them at Niles High School.
Arraigned via satellite feed, Miller was overcome with emotion as the allegations against him were read aloud. He faces two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree; one count of extortion, a felony with a maximum 20-year sentence; and one count of possession of child sexually abusive material, a four-year felony.
Martin is being charged with one count of criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree; one count of extortion; and one count of possession of child sexually abusive material.
Washington faces one count of criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree; one count of extortion; one count of making, financing or arranging child sexually abusive material, a 20-year felony; and one count of surveillance, a two-year felony.
Murphy has been charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree; one count of extortion; and one count of possession of child sexually abusive material.
Nichols faces one count of criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree; three counts of arranging to manufacture or finance child sexually abusive material; one count of extortion; and three counts of surveillance.
Bond was set for each at $150,000.
Family members and friends were present in the courtroom. During the arraignment, when asked if there was anything the magistrate, Robert Clark, should take into consideration prior to setting bond amounts, Washington said he was doing everything he could to get through high school and that he was also trying to take care of his grandmother at home.
Nichols also addressed Clark.
“I’m supposed to graduate in nine days,” he said. “With honors.”
Nichols said he also has a job, helps support his family and he has received a scholarship to attend Western Michigan University following graduation.
“I need to graduate high school,” he said. “I have a good future ahead of me.”
Four of the five have been confirmed as students at Niles High School, where they were arrested early this morning. The arrests came at the end of a six-week investigation, which includes four victims, the first of which, Millin said made the initial report to police.
Three others were interviewed and the matter was turned over to the prosecutor’s office.
With such serious allegations facing all five defendants, what is not known at this time are the details surrounding the charges, though among the group it appears the alleged acts took place around March 18. In Nichols’ case, the charges stemmed from back in January.
At the time of the arrests, Supt. Richard Weigel and Niles High School Principal Jim Knoll both said they were not informed of the charges pending against those arrested. Though police did have arrest warrants with them Thursday morning, Knoll said he was not able to read them.
“Some students that are high school students did something — not at the high school,” Weigel said, just hours after the arrests were made. “We don’t know what. And the police came by to pick them up.”
Knoll said he’d been given a call sometime prior to the events on Thursday that police were looking for the specific individuals.
“I didn’t know exactly when they were going to come,” he said. “I can tell you they were looking for five (individuals) and they took four from the school. (The students) were very cooperative, too.”
Millin said as far as he was concerned the investigation is complete, barring any new developments.
“We tried to do this very low-key,” Millin said, in regard to arresting the students at school. “Obviously they’re friends, they’re acquaintances, they know each other … because of age and any fear they might have of this investigation and its outcome we didn’t want that to happen and boys try to run or hide…”
Preliminary examinations and conferences for each of the five defendants are expected to be scheduled but there is no word yet on whether or not any of the five arraigned today will be able to get out of jail prior to those dates.