Macomb Township man found guilty of second-degree murder

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published October 30, 2019

 Nicholas Riddle, of Macomb Township, was found guilty of second-degree murder Oct. 24. Sentencing is set for Dec. 5.

Nicholas Riddle, of Macomb Township, was found guilty of second-degree murder Oct. 24. Sentencing is set for Dec. 5.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — A verdict was recently reached in a murder trial that lasted just over two weeks.

On Oct. 24, the second day of deliberations, the jury found Nicholas Riddle, of Macomb Township, guilty of second-degree murder and not guilty of larceny from a person.

Second-degree murder is a felony punishable by up to life in prison.

The jury, made up of 10 women and two men, was tasked with determining if Riddle was guilty or not guilty of larceny from a person, and if he committed second-degree murder or a lesser second charge of voluntary or involtuntary manslaughter.

Count one of unarmed robbery was changed to larceny from a person.

Following the verdict, Riddle’s attorney Randy Rodnick said he hoped the jury would’ve come back with voluntary manslaughter.

“We had that as part of our argument, but they didn’t see it that way,” he said. “My client and I feel bad for the family of Mr. Kitchen. That was very unfortunate.”

Riddle, 40, was accused of beating 55-year-old Jack Kitchen, of Macomb Township, who later died due to his injuries in the hospital Oct. 25, 2017. The incident occurred Oct. 4, 2017, at Camelot Villa, a mobile home park north of Hall Road and east of Garfield Road in Macomb Township.

Closing statements were delivered Oct. 23.

In closing, Macomb County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Hall made the point that both witnesses, co-defendant Jamel Bentley and Jennifer Kadow, testified that Riddle punched and kicked Kitchen multiple times while Kitchen was laying in the field, defenseless.

“One of the times he went back, he came back with items from Jack,” Hall said. “Those injuries were not confined to Jack’s face. He had rib fractures and bruising on both sides of the torso.”

In her testimony, Kadow said Riddle had knives and a wallet from Kitchen.

“We have testimonial evidence the defendant took the phone away from Jack and broke it and took the wallet and threw it away,” Hall said. “The defendant took the property without consent and Kitchen was in no condition to consent.”

Hall indicated Riddle moved the property, with it not mattering if he kept it.

Hall said Riddle intended to do great bodily harm to Kitchen and there was enough testimony and evidence for the jury to determine Riddle’s intent.

Rodnick emphasized that Kitchen was swung over a four-foot fence, which led to some of Kitchen’s bruising.

“Bentley has reasons to not be truthful as to what’s happening in this case,” Rodnick said. “He came up with this story that the other side of the fence was nice and grassy. It wasn’t. There are rocks and garbage.”

Rodnick argued that Riddle wasn’t trying to kill Kitchen that night.

“Maybe he was mad and hit him, but that wasn’t the intent, so second-degree isn’t really there,” he said.

On Oct. 22, the prosecution, after it rested its case, requested to have an additional witness testify.

The potential witness was Benjamin Harris, a minister, who Riddle reportedly made statements to a couple days after the incident, prior to Riddle’s arrest.

Riddle on Oct. 22 said he believed what he told Harris would be confidential. Harris’s understanding was that the conversation was not confidential.

Rodnick argued the request for Harris to testify was prejudicial.

After all was said and done, Harris was questioned without the jury present, and Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Carl Marlinga ruled that Harris wouldn’t testify.   

Riddle is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 5. Bentley’s sentencing is set for Oct. 31.

Rodnick said Riddle might appeal the decision.

Hall said he was instructed not to comment further on the trial.

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