WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Earlier this week, Kelly Hogan of Wyoming was in a courtroom where she heard a detective describe in wrenching detail the cold-blooded, brutal slaying of her 16-year-old son.
Michael White was stabbed, beaten and left to die on March 18 in a secluded Wyoming park near 36th Street and Clyde Park Avenue where he had gone with a friend to smoke marijuana and sell a belt, according to testimony.
White’s body was discovered by a dog-walker the next day and soon 15-year-old juvenile sex offender Carlos Delgado was charged with open murder.
In Wyoming District Court Wednesday, a detective described Delgado’s confession.
“He stated specifically that he stabbed him in the back five times,” Wyoming Det. D.J. Verhage testified.
Verhage said Delgado told him White was stabbed and slashed all over his body. “He says he sees the blade’s broken off when he went to stab him. I said ‘what happened then?’ He said ‘I just started hitting him.’”
The beating continued using a skateboard to strike the teen, then stomping him, the detective said.
Then Delgado allegedly told police what White finally said to his attacker: “Just stop, just leave me, just leave me here to die.”
Hearing it all was the victim’s mom Kelly Hogan.
“It was gruesome and it was brutal and he felt everything and he didn’t beg to live, he begged to die. There’s no comfort knowing that,” Hogan said.
The mother said she met the boy accused of killing her son months ago and said she was suspicious of Delgado and advised her son to stay away.
But on March 18, he left without telling her.
“If he’d said just anything like ‘hey Mom, I’m going to be gone, I would’ve known. I would’ve given him an alternative to his plan. I would’ve definitely talked him out of going,” she said.
She said she believes there is more to the story that even the confession revealed.
Verhage said Delgado said they were “planning to do this all week and it might as well be today.”
Hogan understands that as juveniles Delgado, and Quentin Schaefer accused of assisting in the crime, may not get life in prison.
“I, at least, want them in jail beyond the bounds when they could procreate. What they are doesn’t need to persist,” she said. “My son’s dream was to be a father and I don’t want that for them.”
She says she mourns not just for the life that ended, but for the life that could have been.
“Just all the potential that he was is just gone,” Hogan said. “He always intended to turn out good. He was never gone be sucked into just being a loser or anything like that. He had dreams.”
She said she the only light in this dark time is the outpouring of support and kindness from those whose lives were touched by the boy she describes as kind and trusting — maybe to a fault.
“People that know him will remember him forever. That brings me joy, in a way, as his mom,” she said.
Both of the 15-year-old suspects were charged as adults as their cases move to felony court.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ended the ability of states to automatically sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole.
That means even if they are convicted of first-degree murder, they will have to get a separate hearing when they are adults to see what their sentence will be.