Kristopher Pratt and Ed Thomas were charged and tried for the murder of former Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed. Pratt confessed to the murder as part of a plea deal while a jury found Thomas not guilty on all counts.
Last fall, Demarius Reed was found by his roommate shot to death outside their University Green apartment.
Reed had been shot twice and robbed sometime in the early morning
of Oct. 12, 2013. By November, two suspects in Reed’s murder were taken into custody. Detroit residents Pratt and Thomas were charged with open murder and armed robbery.
Pratt was connected with Reed’s murder after he was arrested for armed robbery at Eastland Mall, using what the police believed was the same pistol that killed Reed.
The honorable Donald E. Shelton presided over the trial of the two Detroit men this summer.
Before the trial went underway, Pratt took a plea deal, and confessed to second-degree murder, according to Judge Shelton’s office. All other crimes against Pratt will be dropped upon sentencing. The plea deal terms include a prison term of 18 to 30 years. Pratt also agreed to testify against his co-defendant, 21-year-old Thomas.
Thomas chose not to take a plea deal, and went on with the trial. A jury found him not guilty on all counts. Thomas evaded charges of open murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
The night Reed was murdered, Pratt and Thomas first noticed the EMU football player at a party, according to Pratt’s testimony. Pratt said it was Thomas who suggested they rob Reed.
They followed Reed back to his apartment, and Pratt was the first to encounter him as he entered the complex.
“He walked in … was walking up the stairs. I grabbed him,” Pratt said in his testimony.
After a physical struggle between Pratt and Reed, Thomas entered and intervened. Pratt said Ed struck Reed, knocking Reed to the ground. That’s when Pratt started firing shots.
“I shoot [Reed] in the side,” Pratt said. “Ed went in his pockets, took his phone and watch. I saw [Reed] shaking. I shot him in the head.”
After testimony from several witnesses, including Reed’s roommate, a friend of both men charged with Reed’s murder and the Ypsilanti
Police detective sergeant in charge of the murder investigation, Thomas was found not guilty on all counts.
On Aug. 12, Kristopher Pratt was sentenced to 18 to 30 years in the Cottonwood Correctional Facility in Jackson. Although he apologized to the Reed family, Pratt also said he was not happy with his plea deal. He said he felt coerced into it and claimed the case was handled improperly. Shelton denied the motion as being frivolous.
Thomas was released the day he was found not guilty.
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