Before we begin, I'd like to tip my cap to the reporters that have spent a lot of time covering the trial against the two
men guys that have been accused of shooting Demarius Reed to death. I'm appreciative of the coverage from all of the local media outlets that have dedicated their time to such a sensitive issue.
The trial against Kristopher Pratt and Ed Thomas for killing Reed in his off-campus apartment on October 18, 2013 finally began July 21.
On the second day of the trial, Pratt let seemingly everything out for the judge, jury and everybody else to hear exactly what happened that night.
"He fell to the ground and I shot him... I seen Demarius shaking so I shot him in the head... to take him out of (his) pain." -Pratt
Well whose fault was that, that you saw Reed in pain? It wasn't Reed's fault that you and Thomas left a party to follow Reed into his apartment building, fought him on the stairs and shot him in the head. Reed wasn't in pain when Thomas looked at you and said "Let's rob him" and handed you a gun. Reed wasn't in pain when you took his iPhone and wallet because you were already kind enough to relieve him of said pain.
In his testimony, Pratt shot a man in the head twice and got away with it for a couple of weeks. Rewind things back to November 2. Pratt used that same gun to rob a man at gunpoint at Eastland Mall, located in Harper Woods, Michigan, over a pair of Air Jordan sneakers. And lookie here, the handgun used was stolen.
On July 18, Pratt pled guilty to second-degree murder charges. Reports say that the plea could result in an 18-to-30-year sentence in prison. Many would argue that this is a huge slap on the wrist for taking an innocent man's life. What else does that MLive article have to say about this?
Brown questioned Pratt's motivation for testifying, making it clear to the jury that Pratt was getting a reduced prison sentence. Brown asked Pratt about all the hardships of being in prison, including not being able to eat what he wanted, see people when he wanted or be around women.
Lorne Brown conducted the cross-examination.
Not being able to be around women? Hold on. Do you remember this one time you went to a party after not being let into a nightclub in Ypsilanti and decided to rob a dead student (and he's only dead because you relieved him of the pain that you caused him) because there weren't enough ladies there for you to let Reed live?
The four men went to the party, but didn't stay long because there weren't many women there, Pratt said.
What about Thomas? After all, there are two men on trial. We've heard what Pratt had to say, what about Ed, the guy apparently that gave Pratt the gun and had the bright idea of robbing Demarius.
"(Thomas) watches as Kristopher Pratt moves in on Demarius Reed and shoots him. Then takes his phone and wallet. Then shoots him in the face. Ed Thomas is horrified, asks him, ‘What the hell are you doing?'" Brown said, adding that, "Ed Thomas was not involved in anything that happened to Demarius Reed."
Thomas rejected a plea deal, which would have him serving between 15-30 years rather than life in prison.
As horrifying and cruel as these quotes are for us to read and the Reed family to hear, there's something that Ypsilanti Police Department's Joe Yuhas, who was in charge of the investigation for this case, said that really struck a nerve for the EMU community.
During Brown's cross-examination, Yuhas admitted telling Thomas during a previous conversation that the investigation was under a lot of pressure due to an unusual amount of media attention. Yuhas confirmed under oath that the Ypsilanti Police had been contacted by out-of-state news outlets including the Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, TMZ and MTV.
"I did say, regrettably, that if it was just a nobody EMU student, we wouldn't have put this many resources into the investigation," Yuhas said Thursday.
A "nobody EMU student"? That's an actual quote that an authoritative figure that's supposed to be making sure justice has been served to everybody. Everybody. All of the EMU students. That's your job. The reason that you're under "an unusual amount of media attention" is because you didn't do your job for the nobody EMU student. And Julia wasn't a nobody to Demarius, either. Reed even ran into her mother at a Meijer by EMU's campus, talking about how the event affected them both.
It's all wrong. Terribly, horrifyingly wrong.
Twitter and Facebook commenters have spoken about the issue:
Just shed a tear reading what's going on with Dreed case. "I shot him in the face so he wouldn't suffer" he coulda lived g.— BIGBOSS. (@qbaaaby) July 26, 2014
I feel for Reed's friends/family having to sit through horror show that is this trial. Peace to them all. Pride in Reed for fighting back.— Eagle Totem (@eagletotemblog) July 23, 2014
From the EMU Football fan page on Facebook:
"Being a habitual offender, this crime deserves life."
"Deserves life or worse"
"What is wrong with our justice system?!! Both of these losers should go to jail for the rest of their lives! NO DEALS! No one gave Demarius a deal ! Just sickening!"
"Love the American Justice System>>>>>>>>>>>Criminals get all the Justice."
"Take him out back no room for people like that in this world"
"They both need to rot in jail! There are just some people you can't rehabilitate and release back into civilization...... Like somebody that shoots another human being for a few dollars and then says I shot him in the head to put him out of his pain."
"Basically "if" he stays alive in jail after the years he do get , when he gets out he's free to do another crazy thing , give that man life in prison"
"This is just absolute Horse $h!t! it shouldn't matter the fact that he didn't rob Demarius, He's the man who shot him twice! count it Two times, 1 for a robbery then an addtional shot just because! this farce of a judge should be fired immediately there should be no way this man isn't facing life in prison"
"It's so disturbing that you can rat out your friend and strike a deal when you killed another person. Our justice system is all for criminals."
To say that these men should spend the rest of their lives behind bars, spend 15-30 years, any more or any less is something that not everybody will agree on. Opinions on this will vary between "an eye for an eye" and "dumb 20-year olds can change". This was a very stupid decision by both of these guys, and ought to be punished. That much is for certain. But maybe we're a little too addicted to punishing people like that, because it's just that easy for many of us say. Put the "bad guys" away in prison and never deal with them again, much like that embarrassing high school photo of yourself that you stuck in a box to be stored away in the attic.
Everybody has their opinions as to what should happen, but Reed's father just wants justice.
"It's a lot of frustration," he said in the hallway of the courthouse after the trial concluded for the day. "You have this guy sitting here not really expressing any signs of remorse ... like he's not taking accountability or responsibility for his actions or his role in what occurred at all."
Though it was sad hearing all the specifics about the shooting again, Carl Reed is optimistic.
"There's feeling of hope. We're hopeful it will turn out the just way," he said.
Social justice is such a fluid concept. Once the jury has made its decision, opinions and feelings will be different from person to person. Not everybody is going to agree on whether or not justice will have been served. The only thing that is for certain is that the Reed family has suffered a tragic loss and the two, Kristopher Pratt and Ed Thomas, will be punished.
The decision of what will happen to Pratt and Thomas will happen on Monday morning at 8 a.m. after their closing statements.