Back on December 16th, 2007, I discussed the assault and robbery of 18-year-old white pizza delivery driver Matt Gelderloos outside the residence at 2635 Reynolds in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. Four black teens were involved; two girls who were the masterminds behind the scenes, and two boys who executed the crimes themselves. They were caught by tracing telephone records to the address of the perpetrators.
On Thursday December 27th, the first step towards justice was taken in a preliminary hearing at Michigan's 60th District Court for the four perps. The Muskegon Chronicle reported that as a result of the probable-cause hearing, visiting Judge Robert Benson ordered all three defendants present bound over as charged to 14th Circuit Court for trial on felony charges. The fourth defendant's preliminary hearing was postponed. All four defendants will be charged as adults.
Benson did grant defense motions to reduce the bond for the three defendants. All were initially held on $250,000 cash or surety bond. Benson reduced that to 10 percent of $50,000 for the two girls, Peoples and Walker, and $50,000 cash or surety for Shannon. The three who were bound over:
* Jaleel Shannon, 15, of 7 Lincoln -- unarmed robbery and carjacking (on an aiding and abetting theory).
* Shonta Chenee Peoples (pictured at left), 17, of 2633 Reynolds -- unarmed robbery.
* Ja'Qesha J. Walker (pictured below left), 17, of 3036 Seventh -- unarmed robbery.
The fourth, whose preliminary hearing was postponed until January 9th:
* Devonte Ta-Shone Smith, 15, of 1881 Manz -- unarmed robbery and carjacking.
Matt Gelderloos testified to begin the hearing. According to him, he was standing at the curb, waiting to get paid for the order of "hot wings" he was delivering. He spoke briefly in the street to a teenage boy who wore a girl's white coat. Then Gelderloos looked toward a nearby house when he observed someone walking out its door. As he turned his back (on the other youth), he was tackled.
He testified that after he was knocked to the ground, the other youth (in the white coat) started hitting him. When he (Gelderloos) ended up getting stood back up, that's when the other male started hitting him. Someone kicked him repeatedly while he was on the ground. Someone else took his wallet -- or he might have dropped it, he wasn't sure. As a result, Gelderloos wound up without the wallet, without his father's truck -- which he had left running with the keys in it -- and with bruised ribs plus injuries to his face that required five stitches to his eyebrow, two to his lower lip and one to his upper lip.
Authorities said they believe Smith (whose hearing was postponed) is the one who stole Gelderloos's truck after the robbery -- apparently on the spur of the moment without the others' approval -- but Shannon is also charged with carjacking on an "aiding and abetting" theory, because he allegedly participated in the beating and robbery that ended up in the truck theft. Gelderloos was unable to identify any of his attackers.
But Muskegon Heights Police Det. Steve White tied the suspects to the crime, testifying about his investigation of the robbery, including interviews with Shannon, Peoples and Walker after a check of Jo-Jo's Pizza phone records led police to them. Among other things, each told him that the initial plan was to rob another delivery driver earlier -- a female -- but that plan had to be aborted when another vehicle showed up in the street, scaring the teens off.
None of the testimony implicated either of the girls in doing the actual beating -- just Smith and Shannon. But, according to Detective White, the suspects' statements to him indicated that Walker was the one who allegedly called Jo-Jo's Pizza repeatedly, to place the order and to check when the driver would show up -- while Shannon supplied a phone book, the cell phone used to call the pizza place, and the house they used as their base, although she denied helping plan the robbery and said "she told them not to do it."
In the end, White testified, the robbers got Gelderloos's wallet; the keys and Global Positioning System unit from the truck, both of which turned up later at Smith's house; the truck itself, which Smith allegedly abandoned soon after the others called him to urge him to get out; and Gelderloos's cell phone, which one of the group allegedly took apart and threw away outside. The white coat, which Shannon had borrowed from a female friend, they allegedly burned because it was "evidence."
As for the hot wings ... they never got to eat. The food fell in the snow when Gelderloos was tackled. Ironically, it was originally intended to be Gelderloos' last night on the job, and his last delivery of the night.
And perhaps he'll join the growing ranks of American whites who understand both sides of the "diversity" equation. Learn how to cope with "diversity" at the Vanguard News Network Forum.