Teen involved in trestle push invokes the Fifth
by Jeff Switzer
The teen who had pleaded guilty to his role in the Jan. 2 drowning death of Michael Schuerhoff invoked his Fifth Amendment right at the trial of the other three teens in the case last week, opting not to give testimony per the agreement with the prosecutors.
Brian Schrader, 18, has also hired a new attorney and has indicated it is his intention to withdraw his plea, though there has not yet been a motion in court to do so.
The prosecution went with the testimony of the other teen in the trial, Tyler Wheaton, who pleaded guilty to first-degree rendering of criminal assistance for his role. Prosecutors are recommending Wheaton receive a one-year exceptional sentence in juvenile detention in exchange for his testimony against the other three teens in the case. Because Wheaton did not participate in the betting which preceded the push off the trestle, his case is being heard in juvenile court.
Benjamin Drake, 16, faces a possible 21 to 28 weeks in detention; Steven Garza, 16, may get 40 to 48 weeks; and Lawrence Edinger, 17, can receive 30 to 40 weeks.
Schrader pleaded guilty at the beginning of May to second-degree murder and agreed to testify against the others in the case in exchange for the prosecution's recommended eight-year sentence for the crime. The standard range for the offense is 10 to 14 years with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a $50,000 fine.
Dan Donohoe, spokesperson for the prosecutor's office, said that while the recommended eight-year sentence is below the standard range, the sentence does take into account the seriousness of the crime because there was no intent to commit murder.