A woman and two men in Michigan are facing hate crime charges that come with up to two decades in prison after allegedly breaking into the home of a Black family while spurting racial slurs and threats, authorities announced over the weekend.
The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Branden Todd Odegaard, 37, Michael Ray Graves, 47, and Maci Kathleen-Grant Pietryga, 26, following an alleged hate crime in Pontiac, according to a Saturday press release.
The trio, all from Wolverine Lake, allegedly broke into a Black family’s home during the early hours of April 26 “and threatened to kill the occupants, including two children.”
The children who live in the home are 9 and 13 years old, according to Detroit outlet WDIV-TV.
Prosecutors allege that one of the defendants used a racial epithet during the incident. The suspects are accused of breaking down the door of the home while armed with a knife, club and dogs, according to WDIV-TV. The commotion woke up the 13-year-old, who raced to help his little brother.
Soon, their mother was in their bedroom firing shots through the door to scare off the intruders. During these moments she called her husband, who works overnight shifts.
“I can hear everything, them kicking and banging down the door, whatever they were doing,” the husband and father, who hasn’t been identified, told the outlet.
“I heard the first shot and that’s when they were in the house. I can hear the guy saying, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ The n-word and all that,” he added.
The trio was arrested shortly after the incident. The prosecutors’ office has denounced the incident as a hate crime.
“I want to be very clear that I have zero tolerance for hate crimes,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen D. McDonald said. “Hate has no place here in Oakland County, and I will do everything in my power to hold those who attempt to commit hate crimes accountable.”
Odegaard and Graves have been charged with one count each of home invasion in the first degree, as well as one count each of ethnic intimidation. Pietryga has been charged with aiding and abetting home invasion in the first degree.
Their next court date is May 12, acording to The Oakland Press. It’s not clear if any of the suspects have attorneys. They all face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
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