GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A young man who was once called Kent County’s youngest convicted killer could be freed by the end of the year.
Keishawn Mann pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his mother’s boyfriend, Jermelle Stokes, at the family’s Kentwood home in February of 2010. He was 13 years old at the time.
Mann, now 20, will be eligible for release once he turns 21 in December. He will appear before a Kent County judge Tuesday for a progress evaluation.
Stokes’ family members say they still suffer from his loss. He was 35 when he was killed.
“It impacts our whole family all the time,” Annette Moore, Stokes’ aunt, told 24 Hour News 8 on Monday.
Moore said the family supports the idea of releasing Mann as long as he has been rehabilitated.
“I’ve forgiven him, but I can’t forget,” she said. “I’ve forgiven him in my heart. He could come in here today and I’d give him a big hug.”
Mann’s defense team contended that the teen shot Stokes because he had abused the teen and his mother, but Stokes’ loved ones have long refuted that notion. Moore said she doesn’t understand what drove the Mann to shoot her nephew. She hopes for the opportunity to ask Mann directly someday.
Despite what happened, Moore and her husband Jose said they still love Mann and forgave him long ago.
“That’s what part of unconditional love is. You don’t give up,” Jose Moore said. “You keep trying to help him.”
Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Vicki Seidl said she has not heard of any problems regarding Mann’s rehabilitation since he was placed in juvenile detention. She declined to comment on whether she would contest his potential release in December, pending the review of his progress at that time.