St. Johns, Michigan (WILX) Samantha Grigg was supposed to be graduating from high school and going onto college beginning this summer, but instead she'll be spending the next 6-15 years behind bars.
Grigg, 18, of Saline was sentenced Tuesday in Clinton County Circuit Court on charges of manslaughter and unarmed robbery in connection with the death of Michigan State University student Dustyn Frolka in February.
Frolka was beaten, robbed and then left for dead on the side of I-69 in Bath Township near the East Lansing exit. Grigg was driving the SUV at the time.
Grigg showed little emotion during her trial in April, but in court Tuesday she was visibly more emotional while making a statement before Judge Randy Tahvonen handed down the sentence.
"On reading what he left behind: a daughter and a family and people who love him, he was a fellow musician and it really breaks my heart," she said.
"I wish I could take it back everyday."
Before Grigg's sentencing, several of Frolka's family members, including his stepmother, stepsister and aunt, offered their own tearful testimony as Grigg looked on from behind.
"There's now a large void in our life that can never be filled," said Eileen Hincka, Dustyn's stepmother.
"(Grigg's) actions directly caused the death of my son Dustyn, if she had made the choice to do things differently at any point during that evening maybe the results could've been different."
Standing before the judge with a framed photo of Dustyn, his aunt Lisa Frolka at one point described Grigg as an "empty hearted predator."
"You took a son, you took a brother, you took my nephew," she said as she turned to look at Grigg.
"Our family is devastated, shocked an appalled."
Grigg's minimum sentence was due in large part to the plea deal she agreed to last month which lessened the charges to manslaughter and unarmed robbery in exchange for agreeing to testify against the other two suspects in the case. She had originally been facing a murder charge.
Ron Zawacki, Grigg's attorney, was satisfied with the sentence, adding it will allow her to have a life still after she is released.
"She had a scholarship to Eastern Michigan University in music, she tells me upon her release from prison she's going to go back to school," Zawacki said.
"Based on her background, (this sentence) gives her the opportunity to get out of prison and do something useful."
A shorter sentence though isn't something the Frolka's are taking any comfort in.
"The part that bothers me the most is that she continues to look forward to when she wanted to get her high school diploma, and she wanted to do this, and wanted to do that, but she's taken away Dustyn's chances to do any of those things," said Eileen Hincka.
"On the night that it happened, she had many, many times that she could've said 'no, I didn't sign up for this, I don't believe in doing this,' but she never did, so as far as I'm concerned she had major involvement in this."
The two other teens involved--Tyrel Bredernitz, 18, and Brendan Haim, 16--are still facing murder and robbery charges. Bredernitz is due back in court in June, but it hasn't been determined yet whether Heim will be competent to stand trial.
Investigators said Heim and Bredernitz were beating Frolka with brass knuckles causing him to jump out of the SUV they were riding in while driving on I-69 toward East Lansing.