By Charles Sercombe
The talk in Hamtramck 31st District Court on Tuesday afternoon was the shock in how young they looked.
Too young, court observers said, to have possibly committed the horrible crime they are charged with.
Mind boggling, really.
But the reality is, three 17-year-olds, who apparently have been living on the streets, are being charged with breaking into an 80-year-old woman’s house late at night and beating her on the head with a pry bar.
Viciously, police say.
In court, they looked like kids.
Nathanael Haas, of Troy, Andrew DePauw, of Berkley, and Albert Daka, of Hamtramck, face charges of home invasion, assault with intent to rob while armed and two other types of assault charges.
They are being charged as adults and could face a maximum penalty of life in prison, although at their age they will likely face just a few years in prison, investigators say.
Police say that on June 5, at 1:30 a.m., the trio broke into the woman’s house on the 5000 block of Trowbridge St.
The woman was up at the time and managed to call 911 before the three began beating her.
Police arrived in minutes and saw the three striking the woman in the head several times.
The woman, who police decline to identify at this time, survived and was treated for deep cuts to her head.
The three managed to escape before police could get to them.
Thanks to good police work, and the assistance of the Madison Heights K-9 unit, material left behind at the scene led to the arrest of one suspect and then the two others by the next day.
Relatives of the three were in the court, openly sobbing. They told police investigators after the court hearing that all three had a history of trouble at home. All three were apparently living out of a stolen car.
According to Detective Derek Suwalkowski, Daka suggested breaking into the woman’s house because he believed she had money stashed away.
The suspects are being held in Wayne County Jail in lieu of posting a $1 million bond. (Daka was given a $500,000 bond.)
They are scheduled to have a preliminary examination on June 17.