Still, Alexander Letkemann
completed the job: being there for a friend as he
stabbed, mocked and decapitated a man.
After all, he
owed the killer $100 and this was his
said during a graphic day of testimony Wednesday that caused weeping in Wayne Circuit Court and one juror to tear up.
"It made small cracking noises, like a bunch of small twigs being broken," said Letkemann
, 18, who had testified that he
looked away when Orlewicz started sawing at the man's neck. Letkemann, a former Livonia Churchill High School student, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last week.He
testified under a plea deal to save him from spending his
life in prison.That's what Orlewicz, an 18-year-old Canton High School student, faces for the first-degree murder charge in the trial that began Monday.
Prosecutors have called the case a "thrill killing."Letkemann
provided clues to the motive, saying Orlewicz was angry at Sorensen
hadn't repaid a $400 debt or returned a .38 caliber revolver.
Orlewicz lured Sorensen
into the Canton Township garage of Orlewicz's grandfather on the ruse they were going to extort $3,000 from another teen, Letkemann
going to win," Letkemann
grabbed a knife, but froze until Orlewicz finished the job.
"Just let it take over," Orlewicz told the dying man, according to Letkemann
When Orlewicz was done, he
began cutting the head, prompting Letkemann
to leave the garage for the first of two breaks.When he
returned, Orlewicz was holding Sorensen's
head and "moved the jaw up and down saying, 'How's it going, Alex?' like mimicking Dan was saying it," according to testimony.
"I shuddered and turned away," Letkemann
watched Orlewicz begin obliterating the man's fingertips with a blowtorch. Letkemann
said it was tough to watch.He
drank a pint of whiskey and some wine beforehand to steel his
ducked out a few times.But he
kept returning to help clean up the mess.Letkemann
had agreed a few days earlier to clean up the slaying and dump the torso that Orlewicz set ablaze in a vacant Northville Township lot.
The next day, he
answered Orlewicz's call and went with him to a secluded area of Hines Park to dump the head that Orlewicz kept in a Tupperware-like container. Why would Letkemann do such a thing, Assistant Prosecutor Robert Moran asked.
"Because I didn't have the money to pay him back, and I made a seriously bad judgment," said Letkemann
, who frequently closed his
eyes and paused while testifying.
considers himself a "nonviolent music lover" and "beatnik."
testifies the hacksaw held by Prosecutor Robert Moran looks like the one used. (Donna Terek / The Detroit News)