Two charged in shooting of federal judge at home

By Jeff Karoub
Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) - Two people have been charged in connection with the shooting of a federal judge about nine months ago during an attempted robbery at his Detroit home, authorities said Monday.

City, county and federal law enforcement officials announced the charges stemming from the March 5 shooting of U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg. Police say he was shot in the leg after being confronted while retrieving his trash can.

One of the accused men, Kevin Smith, 23, was arraigned on robbery, assault and other charges. Prosecutors aren't naming the second man, saying he's "a cooperating witness with an agreement for special consideration."

Smith was given a $500,000 bond and his next hearing was set for Jan. 11. Defense attorney John McWilliams said Smith "appears to be in some serious problems," but "emphatically claims he did not have anything to do with it."

Prosecutor Kym Worthy said the case is connected with a string of more than a dozen area robberies also involving the men that were discovered while investigating the Berg shooting. Smith pleaded guilty to armed robbery in one of the cases and was sentenced Monday to 13-30 years.

The unnamed suspect has reached plea agreements on two outstanding armed robbery cases and awaits a sentencing hearing, prosecutors said.

"Many of the victims were senior citizens who had worked hard all of their lives, only to be assaulted and robbed in their homes," Worthy said. "We owe (them) a debt of gratitude, for without their help, the prosecutions would have not have been possible."

Investigators say Smith and the other man walked behind Berg onto his front porch, said they had a gun and wanted to enter the home. The judge refused and was shot in his right leg by a large handgun before the men fled.

Berg and his wife have lived in Detroit for 26 years and have a home in the University-Golf Course district on the city's northwest side. Since the shooting, he has spoken out in defense of the city and against "the scourge of gun violence."

Published: Wed, Dec 16, 2015