A local man serving described as the mastermind behind a violent Genoa Township home invasion who is serving a lengthy prison sentence has had his appeal denied.

46-year-old Kennie Whitby of Green Oak Township is serving a 50 to 75 year prison sentence for 13 counts of armed robbery, and 25 to 75 years for one count of home invasion. He was sentenced as a 4th time habitual offender and was the only suspect charged in the case that went to trial. Whitby was found guilty on all charges connected to the armed robbery and home invasion that occurred at a residence on Crystal Valley Drive in June of 2015. Four other defendants all entered guilty pleas in separate cases.

Whitby appealed his conviction and sentence to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which issued an opinion upholding both. In his appeal, Whitby made several arguments related to suppressing his custodial interview and any evidence arising from it, including information obtained from his cellphone. He contended the trial court should have suppressed his entire interview, based on a lack of a video recording of a Michigan State Police trooper advising him of his Miranda rights. The appeals court disagreed. It also found that the trial court did not err in finding that the defendant validly consented to a search of his cell phone.

Whitby also raised issues related to hearsay testimony from a co-defendant but the panel found the trial court did not plainly err or abuse it’s discretion by admitting the testimony. The panel disagreed with further claims made related to ineffective assistance of counsel, instructional error, illegal arrest and charges filed. Finally, Whitby contended the trial court abused discretion when it allowed the prosecution to add information to his pre-sentencing report but the appeals panel again disagreed. That information was related to his attempted escape from the Livingston County Jail one week before his sentencing hearing.

Whitby remains incarcerated at the Bellamy Creek Correctional facility in Ionia. His earliest release date is June 2066. The full opinion is attached. (JM)