Teen pleads to lesser charge in stabbing incident

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Online Only | Published January 29, 2013

In accordance with the wishes of the victim’s family, a local teen pleaded guilty to reduced charges in hopes of having a stabbing incident erased from his permanent record.

Seventeen-year-old Shane Spatafore of St. Clair Shores is accused of stabbing another teen in the early morning hours of Sept. 3 at a home in the 22000 block of 13 Mile Road.

Spatafore was charged with assault with intent to commit murder, which is a life felony; two-year felonies for resisting and obstructing, and assaulting a police officer; and a charge of malicious destruction of property for breaking a patio table in the neighborhood.

In front of Macomb County Judge Mary Chrzanowski Jan. 29, Spatafore pleaded guilty to counts two, three and four, and also to an added count five, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. The first charge of assault with intent to commit murder was dropped.

Steven Fox, the prosecuting attorney assigned to the case, said his office has no problem with granting sentencing for Spatafore in concurrence with the Holmes Youthful Training Act (HYTA), which allows for the removal of an offense from the defendant’s permanent record if the defendant is between 17 and 20 years old and does not violate probation.

“We are deferring to the request of the family,” said Fox.

Sentencing guidelines call for Spatafore, 17, to receive 29-57 months in prison, although the charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years behind bars. But Fox said sentencing under HYTA could mean Spatafore could serve up to three years at the HYTA prison, or, more likely, serve three years probation.

“We’ve had a number of discussions with the family (of the victim),” Fox said. “The defendant needs to be held accountable, but this is a fair resolution.”

Fox said the victim and Spatafore were longtime friends, and the victim’s father, Raymond Covyeow, even spoke at the hearing in favor of the reduced sentencing for the defendant. He told the court that his son is now recovered.

Both teens are still in high school; they attended Lake Shore High School prior to the incident. The victim is back at school. Spatafore, who has been on house arrest since October, is completing his coursework at home. He will be back in court for sentencing March 13.

“It was an unfortunate incident,” said Covyeow after the hearing.

Defense attorney David Pietroski of Warren said he could not comment on the matter.