Nathaniel Jamal Abraham, then 11, stunned the nation in 1997 when he pulled the trigger of a .22-caliber rifle and killed 18-year-old Ronnie Greene outside a party store. The Detroit News says Abraham was charged under a new juvenile justice law that allowed him to be tried as an adult. His case drew national attention because he was charged with first-degree murder and could have faced a life sentence. A jury convicted him of second-degree murder and he was sentenced as a juvenile, meaning he would have to be released at age 21. He will be released next week.
“Am I confident society is safe and he is fully rehabilitated?” asked Oakland County Chief Prosecutor Deborah Carley. “I am not. There is nothing else we can do.” His attorney, Daniel Bagdade, says, “My biggest fear for Nathaniel is through all the years he spent locked up, all the formative years when most people learn the social skills to get out and deal with life, Nate has never learned those social skills.” Prosecutors had asked for a blended sentence that would allow Abraham to enter the adult penal system at age 21, if it was determined that he wasn’t rehabilitated. More than $850,000 has been spent to house and rehabilitate Abraham from 1997 to today. Attorney fees and court-ordered independent psychological exams have cost an additional $72,000. He will walk into the world with no job and no ongoing education.