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Detroit Man Accused of Murder at 14 to Get $1.1M

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, crime, corruption, ethics, freedoms )

- 2003 days ago -
Detroit has been ordered to pay $1.1 million to a young man who was rousted out of bed as a 14-year-old, charged with murder and held in a violent juvenile lockup for nearly two years before being acquitted.

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Rose Becke (141)
Friday November 23, 2012, 1:29 pm
I am speechless

Phyllis P (237)
Friday November 23, 2012, 1:31 pm
Caleb Sosa, now 19, claimed police violated his civil rights by coercing him to put his initials on a confession that he couldn't even read. The allegations in his lawsuit were never tested, however, because the case ended in an extraordinary way. A judge declared a default when city lawyers failed the most basic procedural step: They never filed a timely answer in court.

Sosa's attorney, Ronnie Cromer Jr., believes he had a strong case and could have persuaded a jury to award even more money if the lawsuit over police tactics had gone to trial. Nonetheless, it's an embarrassing result for a city that is nearly broke and typically pays out more than $20 million a year in legal claims.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Sosa said he was asleep and wearing only pajama pants when an officer entered his bedroom to take him away for an interview. He was released but picked up again a month later.

"They're telling me, 'You killed somebody.' I kept telling them over and over again: I had nothing to do with it," Sosa said this week.

"I did not know how to read. I did not know how to write. As far as a confession, I had no idea what it was," he said. "Police told me to sign right here and you can go home. I didn't even know how to put my initials. I asked them to show me how to write a 'C' and a 'V' and an 'S.'"

Carol Dreeszen (346)
Friday November 23, 2012, 1:55 pm
That seems to be the way of America...reward IGNORANCE!!! Make bad good and good bad!! How utterly pathetic!!!

Carmen S (611)
Friday November 23, 2012, 2:29 pm
Absolutely unbelievable that something like this could happen. Hopefully the family can get closure now, and although money can't bring the time back or erase what happened, it might help the family move forward. Thanks Phyllis for sharing this.

Beth M (138)
Friday November 23, 2012, 3:33 pm
I'm speechless.

Carrie B (306)
Friday November 23, 2012, 4:21 pm
That poor young man. Hopefully this will help him get an education and take him out of the neighborhood he lived in.

Carrie B (306)
Friday November 23, 2012, 5:24 pm
Am I wrong or did Carol Dreeszen miss the point here?

Pat B (356)
Friday November 23, 2012, 5:39 pm
Hopefully, this young man can put all this behind him, and start a new life with his family. I wish him well. Thanks, Phyllis for this.

Sheryl G (363)
Friday November 23, 2012, 6:16 pm
This happens way too often, at least in this case there seems to be some justice for the injustice done to him.

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Friday November 23, 2012, 10:08 pm
So this was all about gangs :( The child killed was not a gang member but and innocent by stander. All those involved with this case should be charged with something for NOT doing their jobs. So who killed Christian Sanchez?


Marred graffiti costs teen's life
Detroit cops: Gangs knew gunman as Little Capone

March 16, 2007



The penalty for defacing the gang's graffiti is death.

Shortly after midnight Feb. 11, a masked teenager known as Little Capone set out to punish such blatant disrespect of his gang's name and symbols, Detroit police said Thursday.

Police said 14-year-old Caleb Sosa, accompanied by two or three other young gang members, was carrying a semiautomatic pistol when he chased down a 19-year-old man for painting over the gang's tagging on buildings in southwest Detroit.

As the 19-year-old ran to a friend's house in the 7000 block of St. John, Sosa opened fire, wounding his target, police say, but also wounding 13-year-old Christian Sanchez in the head as he opened the door. Christian died instantly.

On Thursday, Sosa was charged as an adult in Detroit's 36th District Court with first-degree murder, assault with intent to commit murder and possession of a firearm during a felony. He faces possible life in prison without parole.

Sosa is an eighth-grader at Earhart Middle School near Detroit's Clark Park and has no criminal record, police say. Sosa admitted to a lengthy history of being involved with a gang, said Detroit Police Homicide Investigator Dwight Pearson.

Sosa is being held in the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility without bond pending a March 22 preliminary examination in district court.

His attorney, Lillian Diallo, appeared at the teen's arraignment but wouldn't comment afterward, saying she had not yet gotten copies of police reports on the case. Sosa's mother and sister also attended the hearing but declined to comment.

The 19-year-old victim, known by his graffiti as A.B., declined to be interviewed when contacted at his home by the Free Press on Wednesday. The Free Press is not naming the artist because he was a witness to a gang shooting.

Sanchez friendly, popular

Christian Jesus Sanchez, who was born in Ft. Worth, Texas, moved to Detroit with his family about 12 years ago and was an eighth-grader at Academy of the Americas school in Detroit.

Christian also was featured in video story posted Jan. 20 on the Free Press Web site about a program through Latino Family Services in Detroit. He also wrote a poem titled "Where I'm From" last year while working on his writing skills in a program at the southwest Detroit agency.

"Where I'm from you're scared to go to the corner," Christian wrote in the poem. "Wearing the colors you're not supposed to because the folks might get you."

Naomi Khalil, assistant principal at Academy of the Americas, said Christian was "very friendly, a very popular kid."

"Christian was a very artistic student," she said Thursday. "He loved drawing. He was not the best academic student, but he had a good heart and tried to do his best in school."

The eighth-grade class has only 55 students, and Khalil said most of them, including Christian, had been together for years.

"It's a very close-knit group," Khalil said. Christian's death has "really affected the kids."

Christian's mother, Norma Sanchez, and father, Alejandro Sanchez, were present for Thursday's arraignment.

"He was an exemplary child. He never talked back. He was always successful," his mother said in Spanish through an interpreter. "He wanted to be a mechanic like his dad.

"He was afraid of everything going on in the street," Norma Sanchez said. "He didn't like to go out."

Christian was staying at the home of his father when he was shot.

Graffiti grows with gangs

Brenda Morales, who works with Latino Family Services in the Springwells area of Detroit, said gang-related graffiti seems to be popping up more frequently in the area.

"I'm seeing more and more kids aged 14 to 15 all the way up to around 19 years old hanging out in groups around the neighborhood," said Morales, who has three children, including a 13-year-old boy. "In my apartment building, for example, it was brand new, and within a couple of weekends the walls were filled with gang graffiti."

Morales and others say gangs exert a greater influence on the youth in the area, as economic conditions grow worse in Detroit.

In recent years, more than a dozen known gangs have increased their use of violence in neighborhoods in southwest Detroit, according to experts familiar with the growth of gangs in the area.

The violence has gotten the attention of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. On Tuesday, he announced his desire to have the city's gang squad patrol Detroit Public Schools.

Matt Allen, spokesman for Kilpatrick, said the mayor told him Thursday that Christian's death "illustrates the problem we're having in our community, and it demonstrates what I talked about in my speech.

"This is why we as adults need to reengage with our children," Allen quoted Kilpatrick as saying. "We need to engage in our schools; we need to engage in our households; we need to engage in our communities and neighborhoods."

James Tate, a spokesman for the Police Department, said it has several initiatives to address the gang problem, including gathering more intelligence on gang activities.

"We're going to the neighborhoods and talking to these young guys," Tate said. "When they do get arrested, we sit down and debrief them."


Kathy Chadwell (354)
Friday November 23, 2012, 10:11 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Phyllis because you have done so within the last week.

Henriette Matthijssen (154)
Saturday November 24, 2012, 12:33 am
They destroyed his life at 14, good for him to get the money, it does not erase what happened to him but it will help him to get an education & stand on his feet. Thanks Phyllis.

Arild Gone for now (174)
Saturday November 24, 2012, 3:30 am
Unbelievable! Good that he's out now.

Aletta Kraan (146)
Saturday November 24, 2012, 7:52 am
Noted , glad he is free , thanks !

lee e (114)
Saturday November 24, 2012, 9:45 am
I'm glad he's rich and free, the "rehabilitation" system is enough to destroy the spirit and soul of a person forever! I hope he can live a life free from the horrors of his experience!

MmAway M (505)
Saturday November 24, 2012, 1:38 pm
Thank you Phyllis ~ Sadly, this happens way to much! Just shaking my head ~ $$$ never can give you back those years, but at least he may help him get back on his feet. OMGoodness who knows what horrors he experienced all those years. Praying for him!

Roxie H (350)
Saturday November 24, 2012, 8:38 pm
Thanks Phyllis, Now after being caught up in the system, he will be labeled outside in the real world... this is a true fact. No matter what he will have to defend the fact that he is a victim and was innocent, I have so much empathy for him and many others like him...many women and girls also..we have a growing society of falsely accused and overly judged children , :( ..and society labels them and its so hard on them... Love and Light young man... and his family

Rajee Seetharam (138)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 6:38 am
Noted with thanks Phyllis! So difficult to believe that these things happen in the present days...I do hope and pray that this 19 year old goes ahead, educate himself and do well in life.

Suzanne L (99)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 2:33 pm
TY Phyllis. Hopefully he will be able to move forward and make a good life now.

Susanne R (235)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 3:33 pm
I feel sorry for this young man who was wrongly convicted of murder, but I feel just as sorry for the taxpayers of Detroit who have to pay for the mistakes of overly-zealous lawyers and law enforcement officers. Too bad they don't have to pay for their own mistakes. If they did, they'd be much more careful when making arrests and pursuing convictions.

Christine S (134)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 3:35 pm
What a mess.

Kathleen B (37)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 9:11 am
Our legal system doesn't seem to care about justice, just winning the case or losing. That is why a prosecuter, with the deck already stacked in their favor, will still ignore the rules, such as sharing evidence that could exonerate the accused.
Innocent until proven guilty is a beautiful concept, but I've yet to see it in actual practice. From the president making statements about 'bad guys' and other government officials claiming for instance that those in Guantanemo were the 'worst of the worst' when they knew for a fact that more than 70% of those arrests were acknowledged 'wrong place/wrong time type of sweeps, that are supposed to be sorted out later - in the case of Guantanemo - how long is it now? ten years?

Süheyla C (234)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 1:17 pm
Noted, thanks Phyllis.

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 5:01 pm
This news of some justice being done for the falsely accused is encouraging news. Thanks for sharing this.
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