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Former Northland Mall security guards face judge for prelim after death of McKenzie Cochran

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Posted at 5:10 PM, Aug 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-08 17:41:51-04

(WXYZ) — Four former Northland Mall security guards charged with involuntary manslaughter faced a judge today for a preliminary examination. They face as much as 15 years behind bars, in connection with the death of 25-year-old McKenzie Cochran of Ferndale in 2014.

Prosecutors were not able to call all 6 witnesses to the stand today, but testimony has already painted a picture of the moments before McKenzie Cochran’s death.

“I can’t breathe” were his final words during a confrontation that resulted in death.

Haunting cell phone video showed him face down, handcuffed and begging for help. Security guards placed a knee in his back. He was already pepper sprayed, after refusing to leave the mall.

“We’re talking about a group all doing the same thing, at the same time and same moment.” said prosecutor Oronde Patterson.

During today’s exam, attorneys on both sides heard testimony from witnesses Boyd and Jasmine Monk.

Boyd was asked, “Did the security guards get off of him when he stated he couldn’t breathe two times?“

He answered “No sir.”

Jasmine was asked, “Did you see him move at all after everyone had gotten up?"

She answered “No.”

Prosecutors say Cochran later died from positional asphyxiation. Defense attorneys for former guards Lucius Hamilton, John Sieberling, Gaven King, and Aaron Maree disputed that evidence presented indicated a crime.

“This guy is still fighting them off. The two guards are unable to restrain him. Agreed? Yes.” said attorney Mohammed Nasser.

All 4 men arraigned are due back in court within 2 weeks for another day of the exam, to determine if the case will go to trial. We’ll be in court to bring you the very latest.