GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Kent County Judge is hoping the sentence of a man convicted of gunning down a 13-year-old boy last spring will send a message to concealed pistol license holders as well as teenage car thieves.
“You just cannot shoot an unarmed 7th grader in the back," the judge said during the sentencing of Justin House, who was convicted of 2nd-degree murder and a weapons charge in the shooting death of 13-year-old Jamarion McCuller.
“You sir have destroyed two families."
McCuller's family shared a victim impact statement at the hearing.
House was sentenced to 2 years for the felony firearm charge, and 14-40 years on the murder charge, based on lack of prior convictions.
The judge is hoping this case sends a message to teenage car thieves as well as CPL holders who take matters into their own hands.
House claimed that he shot and killed Jamarion in self-defense, but the jury did not find that claim credible.
The shooting happened 29th Street near Woodland Mall on March 12, 2022.
House found out that his father's car was stolen.
House armed himself with a pistol and tracked down the six suspects who had stolen the car.
When House found his father's car, the suspects got out and House allegedly chased them on foot. The prosecution argued that he fired at the suspects while they were running away.
Jamarion was killed by a single bullet that struck him in the back.
The state argued that House took matters into his own hands when he discovered that his father's car was stolen, instead of calling police. They also argued that he distanced himself after shooting before he eventually turned himself in about a month after he was charged in the killing.
House had been detained by police directly after the shooting, but was released from custody on Monday, March 14, per the request of Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker.
It wasn't until the morning of April 20, 2022, that House turned himself in to police alongside his attorney.
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