Hearing delayed for teen accused in August strangulation death of his half-sister

A Kent County judge is ordering a 16-year-old boy accused of killing his half-sister to undergo a mental competency exam.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A judge has ordered a forensic exam for a teen accused of killing his half-sister in Grand Rapids last month and dumping her body beside a trail less than a mile away.

The attorney for 16-year-old Savon Eugene Schmus today asked for a forensic evaluation to determine if Schmus understands the charges against him and can assist in his own defense.

That request came Tuesday during a preliminary hearing in Grand Rapids District Court. Today’s hearing has been delayed indefinitely pending the outcome of the forensic evaluation.

Schmus is charged with open murder for the strangulation death of McKenna E. Hilton, a recent graduate of East Kentwood High School.

Police say he strangled her at their father’s home at Lamberton Lake Apartments on Plaza Drive NE in Grand Rapids. He then moved the 18-year-old’s body to a wooded trail in a quiet subdivision just north of the city limits.

A man walking his dog along Valentine Boulevard near Dean Lake Avenue NE discovered the body about 12:50 p.m. on Aug. 18.

Schmus was arrested several hours later and admitted to the slaying, court records show. He told investigators he carried Hilton’s body to her car and drove around for a while before dumping her near Emerald Lake, court records show.

Schmus is being charged as an adult under Michigan's automatic waiver law, which allows prosecutors to charge 15 and 16-year-olds as adults for serious crimes such as murder.

If he is convicted, a separate hearing will be held to determine how much time he’ll spend behind bars. Michigan law sets the minimum term for youthful killers at 25 years.

(© 2016 WZZM)


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