Two charged in man’s dragging death

Photo by J. Patrick Pepper

Photo by J. Patrick Pepper


Attorney Arnold Weiner (second from right) states his case for bond on Friday in 19th District Court for his client John Barry (left). Barry, age 16, was charged with felony murder and second-degree murder in the Oct. 4 dragging death of 19-year-old James Kozicki.

By J. PATRICK PEPPER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Murder charges were filed on Friday against two area teenagers accused of dragging resident James Kozicki to his death on Oct. 4.

Jacob Parish, 18, and John Barry, 16, were charged before 19th District Judge Mark Somers with one count each of felony murder and second-degree murder. Barry, a minor, was charged as an adult.

Felony murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole, while the second-degree charge carries a maximum penalty of up to life in prison. Both defendants stood mute and a plea of innocent was entered on their behalf.

Prosecutors allege that Parish was driving an Oldsmobile Alero with Barry and two other people as passengers about 11 p.m. when they attempted to rob Kozicki near South Lafayette and Rockford.

Prosecutors said Kozicki fought back with Barry through the car’s window, allegedly causing Parish to drive off and drag Kozicki along in the process.

Kozicki eventually was dislodged from the window after nearly a block, and his body was thrown into a wrought iron fence set back approximately 10 feet from the street.

Police said they found Kozicki’s “severely injured” body on the sidewalk of South Lafayette about 10 minutes after the incident occurred.

Kozicki was transferred to an area hospital, where he later died as a result of the injuries he suffered. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy expressed shock with the allegations in the case.

“Once again we are charging two teenagers with the most serious charges,” Worthy said in a prepared statement. “The alleged facts in this case are extremely unsettling. Do you know where your children are at all times?”

In a courtroom filled with friends and family of both Kozicki and the defendants, attorneys for Parish and Barry requested their clients be granted bond, contending the incident was accidental and happened in a matter of seconds.

As Barry’s attorney made his case for bond to Somers, a teary-eyed woman in the audience said “no” as she shook her head. Somers responded by saying everyone in the court was welcome, but had to remain silent.

Despite their pleadings, however, Somers remanded Parish and Barry until trial. A preliminary examination of the evidence against them was scheduled for Oct. 22.

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