Deon Haynes was a sixteen year old from Michigan who participated in a robbery that would claim the life of another teenager. According to court documents Deon Haynes and two others would enter a home in search of $400, before the robbery was over the teen killer would fatally shoot seventeen year old Christy Davis. Deon Haynes was tried four times for the murder and in the end would be convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole. However he was later resentenced to life with the chance of parole and would be released from prison
Deon Haynes 2021 Information
Name:DEON LATROY HAYNES
Height:6′ 2″Weight:235 lbs.
Date of Birth:08/01/1975 (46)
Supervision Begin Date:01/21/2021
Assigned Location: Genesee/Flint/Parole/REP
Supervision Discharge Date:01/21/2023
Deon Haynes More News
Sentenced to life without parole for his part in the robbery-turned-murder of a teenage girl when he was 16, a now 45-year-old prisoner from Saginaw County has the chance to be released one day.
The victim’s mother says she can forgive the man but not forget what he did.
On Thursday, Oct. 15, convicted murderer Deon Haynes appeared for resentencing before Saginaw County Circuit Judge Andre R. Borrello via Zoom from the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater.
A Saginaw County jury in 1993 found Haynes guilty of first-degree murder stemming from the July 28, 1992, killing of 17-year-old Christy L. Davis. Haynes was 16 at the time of the killing.
The resentencing results from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 ruling that mandatory life sentences for those 17 and younger is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.
Borrello on Thursday said Haynes’ sentencing range was from 25 to 40 years on the minimum to 60 years on the maximum. When the hearing concluded, the judge sentenced Haynes to 30 to 60 years, with credit for 10,181 days, or almost 28 years, already served.
That means Haynes could have a chance at freedom in just two years.
On Thursday, Haynes sat at a desk as he read from a statement he’d written, directed mainly to Davis’ mother, Donna Riley, who also attended the hearing via Zoom.
“Miss Riley, I cannot even pretend to imagine the emotional pain, sorrow, grief, anguish and suffering you have endured over the years as a result of the loss of your daughter’s life,” Haynes said. “I have wanted to tell you for quite some time how very sorry I am for my participation in a robbery that led to the murder of your daughter. I have hesitated until now because I didn’t know if you would be receptive to my (indistinguishable) inaccurate and probably meaningless apology. However, I offer this apology to you now. My apology also extends to other members in your family and to your daughter’s friends as well.”
Haynes went on to say that when the crime occurred, he was an “immature, irresponsible, foolish and self-centered teenager” who “didn’t care who I hurt to get what I wanted.”
Over the past 28 years, Haynes has matured and come to recognize the severity of his criminal past, he said.
“In short, I am no longer the same 16-year-old youngster that was involved in the murder of your daughter,” he said. “I now wish to express to you my sincere regret for my poor decision and action that led to your daughter’s murder.”
Haynes went on to say he yielded to his friends’ peer pressure to participate in the fateful robbery.
“I offer no justification for my actions; there is none,” he said. “A young woman lost her life. The murder of Christy Davis is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I only wish I could somehow make amends for my ruthless actions.”
Haynes told Riley he hopes she can somehow forgive him. He said that in honor of Davis’ life, he has tried rehabilitating himself and become a better person behind bars.
“I have learned to value and respect human life,” he said. “My promise to you and this court, for whatever it’s worth, is that I will never again harm another human being. Instead, once I am eventually released from prison, I will live an honest, law-abiding, and productive lifestyle.”
Attorney Ray Richards said he has noticed a change in Haynes in the years he’s known him. In late 2017, Richards visited Haynes at a prison in the Upper Peninsula.
“He was relieved because he had come to grips with what he had done,” Richards said. “That’s the first time in my years of practice that I’ve had someone who I could tell was beating himself up for what happened.”
He went on to say that Haynes earned his general equivalency diploma in 2002 and is continuing to take classes to better himself. He also has had no serious tickets or citations for misconduct while incarcerated, Richards said.
Before the judge handed down his new sentence, he allowed some of Davis’ surviving loved ones to speak. First among them was Chrystal Grunwell, self-described as Davis’ best friend.
“She was such a beautiful young lady with a heart of pure gold,” Grunwell said. “She had a kind word to say about everyone. There wasn’t anybody she didn’t like. She truly was what most people would call a gentle soul. Together, we planned out every part of our lives, right down to the very last detail.
“What we didn’t plan on,” she continued, “was for you to murder her and take all of those dreams away.”
Haynes sat stoically as Grunwell spoke.
She said she and Davis had planned on completing college and remaining friends throughout their lives.
“Those hopes and dreams we talked about every single day were not meant to be, because of you. Why did you do it? Why? Christy did nothing to harm you.”
Grunwell called Haynes a “cold-blooded murder, a life-taker, and a dream-killer,” saying she has tried to forgive him but cannot.
“I can’t seem to find any absolution for the person that killed my best friend,” she said. “This week we should be celebrating her 46th birthday. Instead, we’re here in this courtroom fighting for justice for the life that you took.”
She asked Borrello to keep Haynes incarcerated
Donna Riley, Davis’ mother, then delivered an emotional statement, pausing at times to compose herself through her tears.
“Deon and others gathered at a house across the street from his and together they planned, they set in motion, to come to my home to rob me,” she said. “They set evil in motion with that planning. They came to ambush us without cause. No one took his hand and put a gun in his hand. No one helped him squeeze that trigger; he did it all on his own.”
Riley then addressed Haynes directly.
“I want to tell you, Deon, I don’t hate you,” she said. “I have never hated you. I am a believer in God and forgiveness. I forgive you for what you did. I forgive you as a human being, but I can’t forget. I’m not allowed to forget.”
She said that for the past 28 years, she has continually fought to keep Haynes locked up.
“My grief has driven me throughout the years. I’ve not had peace. I heard Deon say that he’s sorry but I want to know what it is that he’s sorry for. I need to hear you say, ‘I am sorry that I took that gun and killed your daughter.’ Then I might think that you are rehabilitated.”
She described her daughter as “a kind, caring, loving person that should still be here.”
“When I say this has ruined our lives, it really has,” she continued. “I’m afraid of what the future holds knowing that Deon may be free someday soon.”
She went on to say she doesn’t want Haynes to spend the rest of life in prison.
“But I am asking for you to spend a while longer,” she said. “I don’t think you’re ready to come out.”
Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa J. Hoover said she has handled 11 resentencings for juvenile lifers, all of whom took responsibility for their crimes. Haynes, though, has not followed suit, standing by his story that he did not kill Davis, alarming Hoover about his potential release.
“He has had a very long time to think about this and to get right with himself and I am very concerned, in terms of rehabilitation, for a person who cannot fully take responsibility for their role in a murder,” Hoover said.
Davis was shot in the head at her mother’s house at 6191 Hess in Buena Vista Township. Her brother saw Haynes standing over her with a gun, according to trial testimony.
A teenage girl spending the night at the home identified Haynes by his voice, while another witness said he heard Haynes say he was looking for $400 at the house, according to previous reporting by The Saginaw News. Two juries deadlocked on a verdict before a third convicted Haynes.
A codefendant was convicted of assault with intent to commit armed robbery, while a juvenile who was 14 at the time of the crime was tried and acquitted in juvenile court. The teen later testified for the defense in Davis’ trials.
Hoover took issue with Richards’ claim that Haynes was peer pressured into the crime, saying he acted more as a leader.
Davis’ last words were identifying Haynes as present at the scene, Hoover said. Two other witnesses both identified Haynes “as the person who had a gun in his hand that night, who put that gun to Christy’s head and who pulled that trigger,” she continued.
“I think that Mr. Haynes is on his way to being rehabilitated, but I don’t believe he is there yet, your Honor,” Hoover said.
Borrello commended Haynes for bettering himself in prison when he believed he would never get out.
“Needless to say … 28 years is a significant amount of time in one’s life to be incarcerated, to have the loss of freedom,” Borrello said.
The judge also said Deon Haynes has not had citations for violent misconduct while in prison since his first few years
“There is a great deal of evidence to suggest the defendant is not a threat to the protection of society,” Borrello said. “I know that’s very difficult considering the circumstances of which he was convicted. The crime that he committed was a violent, heinous act.”
After Borrello imposed the new sentence, he offered a word of encouragement to Haynes.
“In final word to Mr. Haynes, I do wish you a prosperous future,” he said. “Please take advantage of the opportunity that will be given to you at some point in the future.”
Frequently Asked Questions
- Deon Haynes 2021 Update
Deon Haynes was paroled from prison in 2021