2 ordered to trial in EMU player’s robbery-slaying

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PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A judge on Monday ordered two 20-year-old Detroit men to stand trial on murder charges in the robbery and fatal shooting of an Eastern Michigan University football player.

Demarius Reed of Chicago was killed at his off-campus apartment building in Ypsilanti on Oct. 18. Kristopher Pratt and Ed Thomas are charged with open counts of murder.

A probable cause hearing resumed Monday in District Court in Washtenaw County’s Pittsfield Township.

Lawyers for Pratt and Thomas said there wasn’t enough evidence that that their clients committed the crimes.

“At best, they have indicated there was a shooting, that a death occurred and perhaps Ed Thomas was present,” said public defender Gina Noveskey, Thomas’s attorney. “I don’t believe the people have shown that Ed Thomas had any role whatsoever in the death of Demarius Reed.”

Witnesses testified that Thomas and Pratt discussed Reed’s death. Pratt’s lawyer, Stephanie Carson, said there was no evidence that her client admitted to the killing.

County Assistant Prosecutor Nimish Ganatra said there was more than enough evidence to send the case on to trial, and District Judge Richard Conlin agreed, ruling that there was probable cause that Reed was murdered and the defendants killed him. Conlin did dismiss a charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

An open murder charge means that the jury can choose to convict Pratt and Thomas of either first- or second-degree murder.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled March 25 before Judge Donald Shelton.

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