`They're Just Kids' - And They're Charged With Killing 6 -- Four Face Life Sentences If Convicted Of Murders In Crack-House Robbery
DETROIT - Four young Detroiters stood unflinching yesterday as 36th District Court Magistrate Izetta Bright told them they face mandatory life sentences without parole if convicted in the city's biggest murder case in nearly 20 years.
``They're just kids,'' was the whispered refrain through the crowded courtroom as the four were arraigned on six counts of first-degree murder for the slaughter last week during an apparent crack-house robbery.
Jailed without bond after being arraigned were:
-- Tamara Marie Marshall, 18, who allegedly was first to the door of the purported drug house. It was the residence of Steven Owens, her former boyfriend and one of the victims.
-- Jamal Latiff Biggs, 19, and Mark Lamond Bell, 20, allegedly the two gunmen who rushed into the home behind Marshall.
-- Marc Caisson, 19, allegedly the driver of the black Ford Taurus that brought killers to the house and waited for them outside as the victims were shot.
In addition to Owens, 32, the victims were Bobby Frazier, 16; Rodney Lewis, 22; Carl Williams, 21; Robert Hill, 15; and LeVon Robinson, 18.
``They look like kids. They are kids,'' one court official said.
Marshall, a 1987 Northern High School dropout, has had at least two earlier brushes with the law, although her brother, Hubert Jr., described her as a quiet teen-ager.
In November, armed robbery charges against Marie, Hubert Jr. and sister Mary Marshall were dismissed. In September, Marie Marshall was acquitted of possession of less than 50 grams of drugs.
Two of the other murder suspects also have criminal records.
In 1988, Biggs was convicted of two counts of armed robbery and was given an 18-month-to-10-year sentence. He was on parole.
In 1987, Bell was placed in a special probation program for youthful offenders on a concealed-weapons charge. The next year he was charged with armed robbery, but the case was dismissed. Bell was convicted of felonious assault in February 1989 and was given an 18-month-to-4-year sentence. He was on parole.
Inspector Gerald Stewart, head of the police homicide section, said the case was quickly broken because ``there were some survivors'' who provided information. He said the killers apparently spared people who they did not think knew them.
Less than 30 minutes after the crowd that came to see the four suspects had drifted out of the courtroom, Bell's younger brother, Roosevelt, was charged in an unrelated killing.
Roosevelt Bell, 16, was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Ljuca Ivezic, 24, during a robbery at Martin's Coney Island. Bell's share of the loot was $1, according to court records.
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