Samantha Grigg, 18, pleads guilty to manslaughter in death of MSU student Dustyn Frolka
Before being left to die on an interstate off-ramp, MSU sophomore Dustyn Frolka leapt from a car traveling at 45 to 60 mph to escape a beating he was receiving in the backseat after being driven around to collect money he would be robbed of, testimony from one of the three Saline teenagers charged in his death revealed.
Samantha Grigg, an 18-year-old resident of Saline, Michigan, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and unarmed robbery on Monday in Clinton County Circuit Court in St. Johns, Michigan in relation to the Feb. 15 incident that led to Frolka's death.
Grigg faces up to 15 years in prison for the charges of manslaughter and unarmed robbery that she pleaded guilty to.
The charges of felony murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery were dropped. Those charges were punishable by up to life in prison. As an additional part of the plea deal, she also agreed to testify against the codefendants.
When they stopped the car, Saline residents Brendan Heim, 16, and Tyrel Bredernitz, 18, returned to where Frolka lay and robbed him of his clothes and cash before fleeing the scene and leaving him to die, Grigg said.
On Feb. 15, a passing motorist found Frolka partially clothed and in respiratory distress near the East Lansing ramp of I-69 in Bath Township. He was then rushed to Sparrow hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after.
During her testimony, Grigg said she received a call from Heim earlier that day asking her to drive Bredernitz and him to and from Frolka's East Lansing apartment so they could rob and assault him. She agreed.
She waited down the street from his apartment, until Heim texted her to come back. When she returned, Heim exited the apartment and asked her to drive Frolka, Bredernitz and himself to a place where Frolka could withdraw money. She agreed.
Grigg said she is unsure why, but sometime after Frolka withdrew the money, Heim began assaulting him in the backseat of the vehicle. According to prior court testimony, the suspects beat Frolka with brass knuckles.
Against Heim's attempts to restrain him, Frolka then leapt from the car, which she estimated was traveling at 45 to 60 mph.
Bredernitz and Heim stole nearly $800 from Frolka, Grigg's attorney Ronald Zawacki said. Zawacki said he assumes that Frolka was unaware of the suspects intentions of robbery while he was collecting the money.
Zawacki said the plea deal that Grigg was granted in court on Monday is a "light at the end of the tunnel" allowing her to "proceed with her life."
Zawacki said attributed Grigg's compliance to "peer pressure" and neglecting to realize the "ultimate consequences."
Her sentencing hearing is set for May 27.