One of five suspects charged in the vicious April 2 attack on Steven Utash said he’s sending “prayers to him” and there is “no beef between him and me.”
Latrez Cummings, who was released from jail Thursday after posting $25,000 bond, told WDIV, Channel 4, that he was “at the wrong place at the wrong time” and didn’t participate in the attack that left Utash, 54, on the brink of death.
Cummings, 19, is charged with assault with intent to commit murder and assault with the intent to do great bodily harm in the beating of Utash, who had stopped on Detroit’s west side last month to give aid to a child he had accidentally hit with his pickup truck. A mob descended on him and he was in a medically induced coma for several days.
'Not the Perfect Dude'
In the interview with the television station, Cummings admitted he’s “not the perfect dude,” but said he has been unfairly labeled.
“"I did stuff in my past (but) I'm not the kind of dude everybody thinks I am,” he said. “I was there. Don't mean I did anything. Police say something about people everyday; don't mean it's all true. I was just basically at the wrong place at the wrong time."
He said the situation escalated after he and several others rushed into the street to help the boy who had been struck by Utash’s pickup.
"Words get exchanged, they fighting and in the middle I see it was time for me to leave," Cummings told the television station. "I never hit the dude."
Three other adults and a juvenile – who police call the instigator and the only one of the five charged with a hate crime – have been arrested and also charged with assault with intent to commit murder and assault with intent to do great bodily harm.
The other three adults are:
Bruce Wimbush Jr., 17
James Davis, 24
Wonzey Saffold, 30
Bond is $100,000 – lowered from $500,000 – for both Wimbush and Davis. So far, Cummings is the only one of the four adults to post bond. Saffold's bond hearing has been continued.
August trial dates have been set for the four adults charged in the attack.
The 16-year-old, whose name is not being used by Patch, is charged with assault and ethnic intimidation and will be tried June 23 in juvenile court. He reportedly admitted that he attacked Utash because he is white and the 10-year-old he accidentally struck with his vehicle was black. All five suspects are also black.
The juvenile’s trial is scheduled for June 23.
Utash at Rehab Center
Utash was recently transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, a facility at the Detroit Medical Center that specializes in neurological damage and memory injuries.
His family members don’t know whether he will make a full recovery.
Physically, Utash is recovering, “but mentally, he has a ways to go,” his daughter Mandi Marie Emerick told The Detroit News.
The Utash family is raising money to defray the medical bills being incurred by their father, who has no health-care insurance, on the online fundraising site Go Fund Me, where donations currently stand at $186,838.