Breaking News
More () »

Grand Rapids's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Grand Rapids, Michigan | WZZM13.com

Teen pleads guilty to murder of East Kentwood student

Israel Valdez accepted a guilty plea in the January shooting death of James King.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A teen pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to shooting and killing an East Kentwood High School senior in January.

Under the terms of the plea deal, Israel Valdez will serve at least 25 years in prison for second-degree murder and felony firearm.

Valdez was accused of shooting James King in the face during a planned marijuana robbery at the Towne and Country Shopping Center. King, a student at East Kentwood High School at the time, died at the scene.

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped remaining charges of open murder, assault with intent to rob while armed and conspiracy to commit armed robbery — all life offenses.

Five teens were ordered to stand trial, but all except Valdez waived their preliminary hearings in February. 

RELATED: Trial ordered for five teens in parking lot murder linked to marijuana

Two co-defendants testified about events leading up to the shooting. A handgun was tossed down a city storm drain and two of the defendants tried to purge information from their cellphones following the Jan. 13 shooting, according to testimony in February.

The robbery involved a quarter pound of marijuana with a value between $600 and $700. 

Valdez and the four co-defendants are scheduled to be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 before Kent County Circuit Court Judge J. Joseph Rossi.

Other headlines from 13 ON YOUR SIDE:


►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.  

Have a news tip? Email news@13onyourside.com, visit our Facebook page or TwitterSubscribe to our YouTube channel.