Teen charged with assault and hate crime in brutal beating of Steve Utash

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The Wayne County Prosecutor has charged a 16-year-old with assault and ethnic intimidation in connection to the vicious beating of 54-year-old Steve Utash.

It is the first hate crime charge in the case.

Steve Utash was beaten by an angry mob on April 2 after he accidentally struck a child who ran out into the street in front of his truck on Morang in Detroit.

Utash had immediately stopped his car to help the boy and was attacked.

The teen accused in the crime will be charged as a juvenile and will appear in Wayne County Juvenile Detention Center on Saturday, April 12 at 9:00 a.m.

Three others were previously charged in the beating.

Bruce Wimbush, Wonzey Saffold, James Deontae Davis, have each been charged with Assault with Intent to Murder and Assault with Intent to Do Great Bodily Harm.

All three received a $500,00 cash/surety bond.

A 5th man was charged Thursday, 19-year-old Latrez Cummings. with the same two assault charges.  He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday morning. 

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says in a statement, “As in all cases with multiple defendants we must evaluate each person’s actions individually to assess their alleged criminal conduct. In the case of the 16-year-old charged as a juvenile we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the crimes of Assault with Intent to Do Great Bodily Harm and Ethnic Intimidation. In the case of the four adult defendants that have been charged the facts and the evidence does not support a charge of Ethnic Intimidation. We know there were numerous people involved in this case and the police are continuing to investigate, so I will not comment any further about the case,” she said.

Criminal Defense Attorney Terry Johnson tells 7 Action News Ethnic Intimidation is a crime that involves state of mind. It sends a strong message. Did the 16-year-old charged say something about Utash being white before during or after the attack? Johnson also says the feds could come in with additional charges if they establish Utash had his civil rights violated. 

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