Bentley sentenced to three years probation

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published November 5, 2019

 On Oct. 31, Jamel Bentley was sentenced to three years of probation, with credit for 541 days he already served in jail. Bentley testified Oct. 16 in the trial of Nicholas Riddle, who was found guilty of second-degree murder.

On Oct. 31, Jamel Bentley was sentenced to three years of probation, with credit for 541 days he already served in jail. Bentley testified Oct. 16 in the trial of Nicholas Riddle, who was found guilty of second-degree murder.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — A couple weeks after testifying in a murder trial, a co-defendant was sentenced.

On Oct. 31, Jamel Bentley, 31, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Carl Marlinga to three years of probation, with credit for 541 days already served in jail. The sentencing guideline was 19-47 months in jail.

Bentley testified Oct. 16 in the trial of Nicholas Riddle, who was found guilty of second-degree murder Oct. 24.

The victim, 55-year-old Jack Kitchen, of Macomb Township, died due to his injuries in the hospital Oct. 25, 2017. The incident that led to Kitchen’s death occurred Oct. 4, 2017, at Camelot Villa, a mobile home park north of Hall Road and east of Garfield Road in Macomb Township.

Outside the courtroom after the sentencing was announced, Bentley said he’s happy he’s not going back to jail.

“As long as I’m not going to jail, I’ll be fine,” he said.

At the sentencing, Marlinga said Bentley cooperated with police in the case, and he had no reason to believe that anything Bentley said wasn’t true.

“I’m satisfied that nothing that Mr. Bentley did contributed to the injuries or death of Mr. Kitchen,” he said.   

In February, Bentley plead no contest to assault and bodily harm less than murder. In exchange for the deal, Bentley agreed to truthfully testify in the trial.

Bentley’s attorney, Jeff Cojocar, said Bentley at no point in this case tried to manipulate Kitchen.

“There’s nothing that showed Jamel had any motive or an ax to grind with Jack,” Cojocar said. “Jack was his friend. Jamel didn’t intend to harm or physically attack his friend.”   

Macomb County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Hall said Bentley testified the same way he did in multiple police interviews.

“He’s never changed his story,” Hall said. “His involvement included throwing Jack over the fence.”

On the stand, Bentley’s recollection is that once Kitchen was over the fence, Riddle also went over the fence to understand what Kitchen was saying.

“After trying to hear what he was saying, then out of nowhere, he started punching and kicking him,” Bentley said. “At that point, it was getting too much, so I jumped over the fence and pushed him off him.”

Bentley said he didn’t physically hit Kitchen; rather, he made contact with Kitchen’s leg by “incidentally” bumping it while moving Kitchen.

In April, Bentley was released from jail after spending almost a year and a half in the Macomb County Jail.

At that time, personal bond was set at $20,000, with the condition that Bentley would be hooked up to a GPS tether prior to his release. He was also ordered to alcohol and drug testing twice a week.

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