FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Kandell White stood outside the Bud Meeks Justice Center Monday reading a four-page probable cause detailing charges against a local kid accused of killing her son.

Seven years ago, the shooting death of Dontay White, 17, a student at Snider High School studying to be an electrician through the Fort Wayne Community Schools Anthis Career Center, was a nightmare she wasn’t expecting.

The coroner ruled he died from a single gunshot wound to the neck.

Monday afternoon, relief started to come when she watched Michael Harding II, 24, walk through the courtroom doors at the Bud Meeks Justice Center and then she heard the charges read out loud.

Harding, 16 at the time of the shooting death, is facing charges of murder, aggravated battery posing a substantial risk of death, robbery resulting in bodily injury and intimidation where the defendant draws or uses a deadly weapon.

The accused sat quietly at his initial hearing, wearing a black T-shirt and showing little emotion.  

But even with the support of a few of his family members there, it would have been difficult for him not to notice the numerous family members of White and Jerrad Newman, who was shot in the face, the bullet exiting his cheek.

“I’m relieved. Finally. They got him finally. That’s the best news we could have heard. He’s not getting out and he’ll stay in there,” White said, standing next to Alexus Newman, Jerrad’s sister, who served as the family spokesperson.

“It’s really hard knowing that there could be retaliation,” Alexus Newman said. “We’re grateful, but I mean every day, seeing my brother scared and having to not go out in public. It made life different. He’s not the same person.”

Through her tears and supported with a hand on her shoulder from her mother, Misti Ralph, she said they all missed Dontay so much.

According to a probable cause written by homicide detective Ben Miller, Jerrad picked up Dontay at Lee’s Famous Recipe restaurant at State and Wells Street around 10:30 p.m. on May 18, 2016. His mother said the time can been seen on a photo Dontay took as he checked out from the restaurant where he’d been working for a year.

Newman told him that Dontay wanted to go meet someone named Michael and initially the address Harding provided was a Marathon gas station, court documents said. He wasn’t there, but in the general area. They picked him up and he got into the rear passenger seat and drove to Brickshire Parkway, a short distance from where Harding lived at the Maysville Landing apartments.

Once parked, Newman, called “victim” in the probable cause, turned around and saw that Harding was pointing a gun toward the front seat, court documents said.

Newman said he didn’t want his friends – his girlfriend was in the front passenger seat – to get shot so he grabbed for the gun and tried to take it away.

During the struggle, the gun went off and Newman was shot. He got out of the car, a 2006 Maroon Chevrolet Malibu, and saw Harding flee on foot, running toward the Maysville Landing apartments.

Newman’s girlfriend told a detective Dontay was in the rear seat behind the driver. She said the boys were there to sell Xanax to Harding, who also went to Snider.

After Jerrad asked Harding if he had the money for the drugs, Harding didn’t answer, she said. She turned around to see Harding grabbing for the bag of drugs and trying to take it away from Dontay. Then she saw Harding pointing a gun towards the front seat. During the struggle, both Newman and Dontay were shot, court documents said.

She got out of the car and was threatened by Harding who pointed the gun at her and told her to “get back in the vehicle or he would kill her also,” court documents said.

Police began their investigation  with evidence from Dontay’s phone. Detectives were able to get a profile of Harding as the shooter and for seven years, detectives worked with that information, court documents said.

After Newman had recovered some at the hospital, he spoke to then homicide detective Scott Tegtmeyer and identified Harding’s last name. Hospital records indicated that Newman underwent surgery for a depressed skull fracture and reconstruction of a cranial defect as a result of being shot in the head. He also had a “through and through” gunshot wound to his left elbow.

Phone evidence tracked the conversation with Dontay and Harding concerning the sale of 30 Xanax pills with the price was fixed at $180. Dontay even warned Harding “don’t be on no hot shit either,” which detectives said indicated that he was warning Harding “not to try anything funny, like steal from him, rob him or short him money,” after a “third party connector had previously warned him,” court documents aid.

Before the fatal meeting, Harding continued to change his location, typical of individuals arranging a drug deal, court documents said.

In October 2017, two people came forward to say that Harding confessed to the murder the day after the homicide. One witness had screen shots and a short recording of their conversations.

“Witness 6 said he was with Michael the day after the homicide. Witness 6 explained to Det. Tegtmeyer that Michael confessed to him….and admitted to being at the scene to buy drugs and Newman and Dontay tried to jump him. Michael advised he pulled out his gun, shot both boys and pointed the gun at the girl’s head and told her to shut up,” court documents said.  Tegtmeyer was the original detective on the case before it was turned over to Miller.

There is no indication in the probable cause that any of the victims were armed during the transaction seven years ago.

On Sunday, around 6:30 p.m., Fort Wayne officers took Harding into custody after conducting a high-risk felony traffic stop at Lima Road and West Coliseum Boulevard, according to a media release. Detective Miller said he was working undercover in the parking lot of an ice cream store when Harding was stopped, without incident.