May 26 03:40 PM

Murder charge for Imlay teen

Record, nature of crime leads to adult charges for 15-year-old boy

September 08, 2010
SANILAC COUNTY — An Imlay Twp. teen will be tried as an adult for murder. On Friday afternoon, fifteen year-old Trinidad Paredes Jr. was arraigned in Sanilac District Court, according to the Sanilac Prosecutor's office.

Police say the teen fatally stabbed 24 year-old Jennifer Gonzalez in her Croswell residence on August 15.

If convicted, Paredes Jr. could spend the rest of his life in prison.

"Mr. Paredes' maturity, past criminal delinquency, and severity and nature of the crime committed all justified trying him as an adult," Prosecutor James Young stated in a press release.

Paredes Jr. was denied bond and sent to the Sanilac County Jail. From there he'll be sent to a juvenile facility.

A preliminary exam has been scheduled for Sept. 14.

Paredes was arrested by Lapeer County Sheriff Deputies and Imlay City Police officers on August 15 outside of his home, north of Imlay City. The teen had reportedly told his mother he may have been involved in a murder and she phoned Central Dispatch. Paredes was detained on a probation violation by Lapeer County and was lodged in the St. Clair County Juvenile Detention Center until his arraignment in Sanilac County.

As of Friday, Paredes Jr. did not have a defense attorney on record.

According to Lapeer County authorities, Paredes Jr. started to amass a criminal record at the age of 12 and was wearing a tether at the time of his arrest. School officials confirmed he was a student at Venture High School in Imlay City. Paredes Jr. was scheduled to start his sophomore year at the alternative school this week.

Croswell Police Chief Dave Hall said his department is also investigating claims that Paredes Jr. was consuming alcohol in a Croswell bar the night before the murder. Police say the victim and Paredes Jr. had only met that same night through mutual friends.

It was common for Paredes Jr. to spend weekends with family and friends who lived in the Croswell area.

The teen was known to police in Croswell and Lapeer County for prior run-ins with the law.

Records from the Lapeer County Prosecutor's Office state that Paredes Jr. had been charged with mostly petty crimes—larceny of a building less than $200, retail fraud, possession of marijuana, open intoxicants, breaking and entering and more.

Investigators have yet to comment on a possible motive for the murder. An autopsy revealed that Gonzalez was stabbed multiple times. Hall said they sent the suspected weapon to the Michigan State Police Crime Lab for testing, along with numerous other pieces of evidence.

Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she now resides north of Capac where she enjoys working on the farm, gardening and reading.
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