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‘Just leave me here to die’: Teen found dead near brass knuckles and a broken knife

Sixteen-year-old Michael White’s last words were a plea for mercy, authorities said.

In March, police said, White was on the ground in a park in western Michigan, beaten and bleeding from 20 “sharp force” and stab wounds across his body.

“Just stop, just leave me — just leave me here to die,” he cried out to his assailants, a Wyoming, Mich.,  police investigator testified Wednesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Then, detective D.J. Verhage said, one of the suspects, 15-year-old Carlos Delgado, watched the boy die.

“He stated he knew he was dead when he bent down to look at him,” Verhage said in court. “He wanted to know he was dead because he didn’t want him to somehow get away from all that and be able to snitch.”

White’s accused killers — Delgado and another 15-year-old, Quentin Schafer — reportedly tossed a broken knife and black brass knuckles into some leaves near White’s body before going home and stripping down, according to NBC affiliate WOOD. A witness told police that the two teens packed their bloody clothes into grocery bags.

White was found dead the next morning.

Days later, Delgado and Schafer were taken into custody.

The pair appeared in District Court in Michigan on Wednesday for a preliminary hearing in which they were ordered to stand trial, according to reports. They will be prosecuted as adults under the state’s juvenile waiver law.

A public defender for the teens could not immediately be reached for comment.

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White was a junior at Wyoming High School in the city of about 75,000, not far from Grand Rapids.

Friends and classmates called him a “unifier” — a boy who evaded cliques and hung out with people in different groups, Fox affiliate WXMI reported.

“I never dreamed of something like this happening to our baby brother,” a sister, Michela White, told the news station.

On a Friday night in March, Delgado, Schafer and a friend, James Springs, were smoking marijuana at a girl’s house when White came to the door, Springs testified Wednesday, according to WOOD.

White’s aunt said later that he had gone to sell one of the teens a belt.

“They didn’t have a grudge against him,” the aunt, Kristen Colby, told the court, according to “They just wanted to kill somebody, and one of them decided he was the target.”

Springs said White soon left with Delgado and Schafer.

Springs testified that he went to get a pizza — and that when he returned, he saw Delgado and Schafer standing outside the house, removing their clothes and putting them into bags, according to WOOD.

After he heard White had been found dead, Springs said, he messaged Delgado and Schafer on Facebook — and Schafer told him to stop talking about it, according to the news station. reported that in messages between the suspects, Delgado wrote: “I feel like we were kind of deep into the park where people won’t find him.”

In another message, Schafer said: “I still got a mark on my face from him grabbing me.”

Schafer reportedly said he wouldn’t wear the belt again, according to the site.

The next morning, a dog walker stumbled upon White’s battered body, which was buried in leaves in Lions Park, WOOD reported at the time. Autopsy results later showed White had a punctured lung and kidney, a fractured jaw and a fractured skull, according to reports.

A designer belt had been taken from his waist, police told the Detroit Free Press.

Police found brass knuckles, a broken knife and a blood-covered skateboard.

They turned to Delgado.

Cellphone data showed that the teen had been communicating with White the night he was killed, according to the Detroit Free Press. A search warrant led police to blood-bathed jeans in Delgado’s bedroom, Verhage, the police detective, said in court.

That’s when Delgado admitted to the gruesome slaying, authorities said.

“Right in that moment he says, ‘I killed him,’ ” Verhage testified on Wednesday, according to the newspaper. “He said he was planning to do this all week and it may as well be today.”

The detective added: “He admitted to slashing his throat. He admitted to stabbing him in the head. He admitted to attempting to stab him in the stomach but says the blade broke off.”

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Police tracked down Schafer based on his Facebook messages.

“I first looked at his neck based upon some of the Facebook chats that we found indicating he was injured during the assault,” Rob Meredith, a Wyoming police detective, testified in court, according to the Detroit Free Press. “He said, ‘He scratched my face.’ ”

Prosecutors said DNA from Delgado’s jeans and Schafer’s T-shirt and brass knuckles connected them to the crime, according to local reports.

Delgado, it seems, has been in and out of legal trouble for years.

The Free Press reported:

Delgado has a troubled past; he was made a temporary ward of the court after being charged in 2013 with sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl at a Grand Rapids home.
He was also charged with malicious destruction of property for breaking car mirrors in Wyoming and assault and battery for beating a boy in Wyoming. Delgado also was charged with being a runaway after fleeing his grandparent’s home on Woodward Avenue SW in Oct. 2014, court records show.
An order for removal was approved in Dec. 2014. “Juvenile is not following the reasonable and lawful commands of his grandparents by running away from home and getting into trouble at school,’’ a court services worker wrote in the Dec. 2014 petition for removal.
Delgado’s behavior improved and he was discharged as a ward of the court in June, 2015.

Delgado and Schafer will be prosecuted under Michigan’s juvenile waiver law, which means a juvenile court waives jurisdiction over a case when the accused minors are charged with serious crimes, such as murder, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.


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