Teen pleads guilty to murder of East Kentwood student

Israel Valdez appears in court on Feb. 8, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A teen accused of killing an East Kentwood High School student has accepted a plea deal.

Israel Valdez will plead guilty to second-degree murder and a felony firearm charge. In exchange, charges of open murder, assault with intent to rob while armed and conspiracy to commit armed robbery were dropped.

Valdez is one of five teens who were charged in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old James King.

King was killed in January near 44th Street and Kalamazoo Avenue during what investigators said was supposed to be a marijuana deal. Valdez was accused of pulling the trigger and shooting King in the head.

Sentencing for Valdez and the other teens who were charged is scheduled for Oct. 23.

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  • C

    Without knowing the details of this crime, I’m wondering why this guy knowingly went to a drug deal, knowingly armed, and knowingly shot the victim in the head yet is offered a plea deal from open murder down to second degree murder. Is it my imagination, or do we have a lot more plea bargaining going on thes days?

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