Man pleads guilty to 2nd-degree murder in slaying of Michigan State University student

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ST. JOHNS, Michigan — A Saline resident charged in the slaying of a 19-year-old Michigan State University student has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Tyrel Bredernitz, 18, entered the plea Monday in Clinton County Circuit Court. Under an agreement with prosecutors, he's expected to serve at least 15 to 25 years in prison before he is eligible for parole. He will also testify against a third teen involved in the case. Sentencing is set for Nov. 10, when charges of felony murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery will be dropped.

Dustyn Frolka of Owosso was beaten and robbed Feb. 15. He jumped from an SUV onto Interstate 69, in Bath Township near Lansing, and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Samantha Grigg, 18, of Saline was sentenced to six to 15 years in prison earlier this year after pleading guilty to manslaughter and unarmed robbery. She also agreed to testify in the case.

Brendan Heim, 17, of Saline is charged with murder, unarmed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, but is still awaiting trial. His court date is set for Oct. 13.

Bredernitz recounted the incident through yes or no questions asked by his lawyer, saying he was in the front seat of the SUV driven by Grigg while Heim, who was 16 at the time, beat Frolka with brass knuckles. The 19-year-old college student either jumped or fell out of the vehicle at some point during the beating, Bredernitz said. He admitted to partaking in the plan to beat up and rob Frolka, but said he wasn't aware Heim had brass knuckles until the attack began.

In Grigg's testimony at her plea hearing, she said she drove to various ATMs throughout East Lansing so Frolka could withdraw cash, which the Owosso teens planned to take. Grigg pulled over after Frolka jumped out of the SUV, she said, then Heim and Bredernitz got out of the vehicle and took clothing and money from Frolka.

Heim's attorney, Frank Reynolds, declined to comment because the case is still pending.

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