Daughter 1 of 3 Charged in Mich. Couple's Stabbing

Published November 15, 2010

PORT HURON, Mich. – The 17-year-old daughter of two Michigan stabbing victims and two other teenagers were charged Sunday with multiple murder counts in the small-town attack that killed the girl's father and seriously wounded her mother.

Tia Marie-Mitchell Skinner and Jonathan Kurtz and James Preston, both 18 and from Avoca, were charged at the St. Clair County Jail with open murder, attempted murder and conspiracy. The open murder charge gives prosecutors the option to amend it to first-degree murder.

Police said two intruders in Halloween masks climbed through a window Thursday night and attacked Paul and Mara Skinner in their Yale home as they lay in bed. Tia Marie-Mitchell Skinner, the couple's adopted daughter, was in the home along with a visiting son in his 20s.

Police do not believe the son was involved in the attack.

The couple's disapproval of a relationship between their daughter and Kurtz may have led to the attack, Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Pat Young told The Associated Press. Young said the three suspects confirmed they played a role but made incriminating statements about each other during interviews.

"We're all thinking the same thing: How does this happen?" Young said. "As brutal as this crime is, it appears to be such a simple excuse."

The Associated Press couldn't immediately confirm whether the three had attorneys. A message was left Sunday morning for family members of Preston and an attempt to reach Kurtz's family was unsuccessful.

Bond was denied at the arraignment, so the teens will remain jailed until a Nov. 23 hearing.

Mara Skinner, a 44-year-old teacher, had more than 20 knife wounds and was recovering this weekend from her injuries at a Port Huron hospital. Young said she was awake and alert Sunday morning when police told her about the charges.

"She was surrounded by family and loved ones," Young said. "The family is pulling together, trying to do the best they can to get through this."

A community meeting was scheduled for Sunday evening at the high school gymnasium in Yale, which has about 2,000 residents and is about 85 miles northeast of Detroit in Michigan's rural Thumb region.

"Our hope is to reassure the public that the individuals we feel were involved have been apprehended," Yale City Manager John Osborn said. "I think we're also hoping ... to help people with some ways to deal with what is obviously a very significant trauma to the community."

Written by Associated Press

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