PORT HURON, Mich. – A teenager accused of fatally stabbing his girlfriend's father and seriously wounding her mother was convicted Wednesday for an attack that Michigan prosecutors said the couple's daughter helped plan.
Jonathan Kurtz, 19, was found guilty of murder and other charges in the November stabbings of Paul and Mara Skinner at their home in Yale, about 85 miles northeast of Detroit. Their daughter, Tia Skinner, 18, and Kurtz's neighbor, James Preston, 19, are scheduled for separate trials later this summer.
Prosecutors allege that Tia Skinner was angry at her parents for forbidding her from seeing Kurtz, and for grounding her and confiscating her cell phone after finding texts from him declaring his love. Authorities said Kurtz and Preston broke into the home and attacked the couple when Tia Skinner was in the basement watching a movie.
The St. Clair County jury deliberated for about 30 minutes before convicting Kurtz, who faces a mandatory punishment of life in prison when sentenced July 25, the Times Herald in Port Huron reported.
Investigators said they were led to the suspects in part by glaring evidence, including a hand-drawn map — with "my house" written on it — that was found outside. Text messages shown to jurors included one from Tia Skinner warning Kurtz of "creaky" floors in her home and texts between Kurtz and Preston about how they planned to spend $1,000 promised to them by Tara Skinner.