Early Sunday morning a 15-year-old boy entered a Lansing-area Tim Horton's; he was wearing a bandana over his face, brandishing a gun, and he demanded cash from an employee. After the employee handed over the cash, the perpetrator left the store. After speaking with the employee, the police caught the teen only a few blocks away, and the money and the gun were confiscated.
Police learned fairly quickly that a 32-year-old man, supposedly a family friend of the teen, may have been involved in the crime. The man was arrested nearby shortly after the teen was apprehended. The 15-year-old perpetrator will be charged in the juvenile system, but even where a juvenile commits an offense, any adult charged as an accessory will be charged with an adult crime. If convicted, the younger man would likely not do prison time, but the older man likely would.
People who assist others in committing crimes are treated the same as the principal individual. However, inadvertent assistance or mere presence is not sufficient to be convicted as an aider and abettor. The alleged accomplice must have known that the principal intended to commit the crime, and he must also do something towards assisting the principal to commit the crime.
It was reported this morning that the prosecutor released the older man, pending further investigation. One could speculate that there was insufficient evidence that the man assisted with or had knowledge of the teen committing the crime. If you are accused of aiding and abetting, please contact our Okemos law firm for an experienced criminal defense attorney who will protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome on your behalf.