Sentencing hearings do not normally get friendly, but that is what happened Tuesday when a white man got four to 10 years in prison for shooting a Black couple’s home over their Black Lives Matter sign, and for vandalizing a white Joe Biden supporter’s home.
“I’m not angry,” Candace Hall told defendant Michael John Frederick Jr. in a Michigan courtroom, according to The Macomb Daily. “I’m not. I’m forgiving. You’re a good kid and have a chance. You made a bad choice and we understand that. We have children ourselves. We’re not hateful people. We’re Christians. With so much of the bad that happened, so much good came out of this because even though it was an evil, hateful act, it actually brought us – the neighborhood – together with love and comfort and compassion, even including his parents.”
It should be noted mentioned that one of the defendant’s parents, Michael Frederick Sr., was sentenced to time-served (one day in jail) after he was charged for throwing his son’s gun into the Clinton River. Nonetheless, the Halls did not voice any ill will.
“There is no win-win,” said Candace’s husband Eddie Hall. “There is loss on both sides.”
In fact, the couple wanted to hug Frederick Jr. Macomb Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski did not let it happen because of security issues, but the Halls and Frederick fist-bumped anyway.
Investigators previously said that Frederick Jr. confessed to shooting at Eddie Hall’s truck, committing a separate shooting at the home, vandalizing the man’s pickup truck, slashing the tires, and smashing the home window with a rock in attacks across Sept. 7, 9, and 10 in 2020.
Candace Hall had told Click on Detroit she initially believed that the sound of the rock was gunfire.
“I hit the floor and crawled,” she said. “I hit the floor. I didn’t know what it was.”
Frederick pleaded no contest last month to charges including ethnic intimidation and discharging a weapon in/at a building. He insisted in court that what he did was not personal.
“I targeted these people because I didn’t like their political sign that they had in the window,” he said. “This wasn’t an attack on them personally.”
He called the Halls great people and said they did not deserve what he did.
Frederick also voiced an apology to homeowner Carol Hogan, who is white. He said he was “sorry and regretful [for] what happened to you.” He pleaded had no contest to vandalizing her home on September 12, writing “pedophile” several times on the person’s garage, according to the Detroit Free Press. She had political signs for Democratic candidates.
Hogan appeared in court by livestream, but she declined to speak, instead giving Druzinski a written statement.
The shootings and vandalism occurred ahead of the heated 2020 presidential election and amid an ongoing debate over how law enforcement treats people of color, especially Black people like the Halls, who displayed a Black Lives Matter sign at the front of their home.
“I’m not the person that the media made me out to be,” Frederick Jr. said. “I know what I did was dumb. It was meaningless.”
He also said he found God while in jail.
“I’ve made my way through the Bible and I’m really a different person,” he said. “I have a different heart, a different mind, a different spirit than I had in September. Sorry.”
An attorney for father Frederick Sr. insisted that this is not his client raised his son.
“His son was overly politicized and motivated,” said attorney Jeff Cojocar. “He loves his son, but he is ashamed of his son.”
As part of a plea deal, Frederick Sr. was convicted of lying to police, and had to pay $2,000 of restitution to the Halls and $1,000 to Hogan to cover them paying insurance deductibles.
Judge Druzinski said she was in awe of the Halls’ capacity for forgiveness.
“I’m in awe of your strength, wisdom and forgiveness,” she said. “I wish I was as good as people as you.”
Even so, she highlighted the worst case scenario of Frederick shooting their home. Someone could have died.
“They [the Halls] didn’t deserve it,” the judge said. “Mrs. Hogan didn’t deserve it. Their community, the city of Warren, the county of Macomb. Nobody deserved what you did. Although I appreciate there is no explanation for why you did what you did, it was pretty darn scary. It could have gone south really, really quickly and harmed people. You could be standing here in front of me on a manslaughter charge.”
[Booking photo via Macomb County Sheriff’s Office]
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