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Grand Rapids man charged with shooting and killing 13-year-old boy pleads not guilty

Justin House's defense attorney, James King, says he won't limit his defense to one specific theory, such as self-defense.

KENTWOOD, Mich. — A Grand Rapids man accused of shooting and killing a 13-year-old boy is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder.

Justin House, 31, appeared in court in Kentwood for his virtual arraignment Wednesday afternoon. 

The shooting happened on March 12 on 29th Street SE.

Jamarion McCuller,13, was killed.

RELATED: Community mourns 13-year-old boy shot and killed in Kentwood

Credit: GoFundMe
Jamarion McCuller, 13, who was shot and killed in Kentwood.

According to court documents, House told investigators he found an occupied vehicle he reported as stolen earlier in the day, the occupants ran away, and House chased after them.

The state alleges House fired a gun at McCuller who was running away from him. McCuller was shot in his upper torso. 

House's defense attorney, James King, said he hopes to get to the bottom of what that means. 

"There are so many things that happen in these cases," said King. "Things happen really fast and we don't know at this point in time if that's true. We haven't seen the autopsy report and so we haven't had a chance to talk to the medical examiner." 

During the arraignment, House's attorney argued his client has no prior arrests or convictions. He's a high school graduate, employed, and has no mental health concerns, drug or alcohol abuse. 

He also claimed his client's gun was legally purchased and he has a permit to carry it.

He asked for a ten percent bond and personal recognizance, however, Judge Amanda Sterkenburg denied the request considering the seriousness of the capital offense. 

"That is indicative of a dangerous personality and someone from whom the public and community require protection and for that reason, I'm not willing to grant a personal recognizance bond," Sterkenburg said. 

House's bond was set at $2 million.

King says he won't limit his defense to one specific theory such as self-defense until they've gathered all of the facts and video evidence.

2nd-degree murder is punishable by up to life in prison or any term of years.

House has a probable cause hearing on May 2.


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