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3 Suspects Charged in Home Invasion of Black Family in Michigan; Family Says Racial Slurs Were Shouted

 

Illustration for article titled 3 Suspects Charged in Home Invasion of Black Family in Michigan; Family Says Racial Slurs Were Shouted
Screenshot: WDIV 4

Just after midnight on Monday, a mother and her two children were awakened by sounds of intruders breaking into their Walled Lake, Mich., home. The mother’s 13-year-old son heard the commotion and swiftly woke up his 9-year-old brother. Moments later, the two boys’ mother was in their room armed with a gun and shooting through the bedroom window at the intruders. She called her husband who was working overnight in Detroit while all of this was going on and he said he could hear the attackers using the n-word while threatening his family. Two white men and one white woman were charged in the invasion and have had their bonds set, which is concerning to the community and especially the family whose home they allegedly invaded.

“I can hear everything, them kicking and banging down the door, whatever they were doing,” the husband and father told local news station WDIV 4. “I heard the first shot and that’s when she, they were in the house. I can hear the guy saying, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ The n-word and all that.”

From WDIV:

The husband said he dropped everything, got in his car and headed home. By the time he arrived police had three white people in custody.

“It was a hate crime,” the husband said.

The Walled Lake family believes the attack was racially motivated.

“They knew that we were a Black family. I’m always on my motorcycle,” the husband said.

He said he’s proud his wife knows how to shoot a gun and that she did everything she could to protect their family.

“My wife did what she had to do,” he said. “When you have kids you do what you gotta do.”

None of the family members have been identified by name, but the accused intruders have.

The Detroit News reports that Michael Graves, 47, and Branden Odegaard, 37, have been charged with first-degree home invasion and ethnic intimidation. Maci Pietryga, 25, was charged with first-degree aiding and abetting home invasion and ethnic intimidation. All three felony home invasion charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $5,000, while the ethnic intimidation charges are felonies punishable by up to two years and a $5,000 fine.

“I want to be very clear that I have zero tolerance for hate crimes,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said, the News reports. “Hate has no place here in Oakland County, and I will do everything in my power to hold those who attempt to threaten or harm our residents accountable.”

While the three alleged invaders all admitted to struggling with drug abuse, they all pleaded not guilty to the charges and “Graves and Odegaard were both given a $500,000 cash assurity bond, while Pietryga’s bond was set at $350,000,” WDIV 4 reports.

“There is concern regarding the proximity of the defendant to the alleged victims and that a GPS tether would not be utilized due to the significant proximity of the two residences,” a pre-trial services person told WDIV.

The victims of the invasion and the accused don’t know each other but, because they live in such close proximity, one would think that any reasonable person would see that as enough reason to keep the alleged attackers locked up. But the presiding judge ruled that if they are bonded out they “may only go to and from court, medical, attorney, and testing,” and they must have no contact with the family at all.

Both men accused in the incident—much of which was caught on camera—have histories of violence. Graves reportedly had several outstanding warrants for assault, battery and failure to appear in court. Pietryga has one prior conviction on her criminal record.

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