Teen from Saline pleads guilty to lesser charges in MSU student murder case

ST. JOHNS, Mich. (WXYZ) - A teenager from Saline pleaded guilty Monday in the murder case of a Michigan State University student. 

It seemed 19-year-old Samantha Grigg had a bright future:  she was a good student at Saline High School and a talented musician. 

In 2012, Grigg performed as the lead singer in the band “Undecided” at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival.

Now she has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and unarmed robbery in the death of a 19-year-old Michigan State University student. 

Dustyn Frolka’s body was found along I-69 north of East Lansing in February.  Prosecutors say he had been beaten with brass knuckles and left on the side of the freeway.  He later died on the way to the hospital.

Police arrested Grigg along with former Saline High School students 18-year-old Tyrel Bredernitz and 16-year-old Brendon Heim on murder charges. 

Monday, as part of her guilty plea in Clinton County Circuit Court, Grigg told the judge about her role as the driver for a robbery gone wrong in February.

“On the night of the 15th, I was contacted by Brenden Heim and Tyrel Bredernitz to give them a ride to East Lansing in order to rob and/or beat up Dustyn Frolka,” said Grigg.

Grigg says she dropped Bredernitz and Heim off at Frolka’s East Lansing apartment.  But then they told her to pick them up so Frolka could get them some cash.

“In the course of taking them home, Brenden began to punch him in the back seat of the car, and then Dustyn opened the door and went out of the car,” said Grigg.

Grigg told the judge she was going between 45-60 miles an hour, and that Heim tried to keep Frolka in the car.  She stopped the car on the exit ramp, and Heim and Bredernitz got out to take about $800 from Frolka.

“If she had been convicted of the original offense, the murder, there would have been life without the possibility of parole,” said Grigg’s attorney, Ronald Zawacki.   Zawacki says the manslaughter plea deal with a maximum of 15 years in prison gives the teen some chance to eventually gain her freedom.  But if her co-defendant’s cases go to trial, Grigg will have to take the stand.

“She would be obligated as part of the plea agreement to offer truthful testimony against them,” said Zawacki.

The judge will sentence Samantha Grigg on May 27, 2014.

Bredernitz has pleaded not guilty and will be back in court in June. Heim’s case is on hold until the court receives the results of psychological examination.

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