A 41-year-old man was convicted of the reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter for the stabbing death of his friend during an altercation in a Roseville hotel room.
A Macomb County jury deliberated about four hours Tuesday and Wednesday before announcing the verdict to circuit court Judge Jennifer Faunce for the December 2020 death of Marcus Triplett. The verdict followed a two-day trial.
The jury acquitted Potts of second-degree murder.
Faunce scheduled a tentative sentencing date of Sept. 13, at which Potts also faces a felony charge of assaulting a county jail employee while incarcerated in the death case. If the assault case is resolved at that time, the sentencing may take place that day.
The maximum sentence for manslaughter is 15 years in prison. The range for the minimum sentence is about 2-1/2 years to over seven years.
Second-degree murder carries a term of any number of years up to life.
During the trial, Potts took the witness stand and claimed self-defense. Triplett punched Potts twice in the face moments before the stabbing.
“The jury thought manslaughter was more appropriate,” said Rodnick, who spoke with jurors following the verdict. “They didn’t acquit him because he stabbed him in the heart.”
Jurors learned Triplett was highly intoxicated, registering a blood-alcohol level of over .3%, nearly double the level of super drunk for Michigan drivers, according to Rodnick.
Jurors indicated Potts “didn’t help himself” on the stand, testifying against Rodnick’s advice to remain silent, he said.
The incident occurred Dec. 23, 2020, at the Extended Stay America on 13 Mile Road in Roseville, where Potts was staying.
Triplett, who had just moved in to a nearby motel, was visiting Potts as well as two women who were friends of Potts and were staying at the Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham on the other side of 13 Mile.
One of the women, Tanisha Askew, testified Triplett got angry that Potts kept talking about the pair beating up a man at the Microtel. Triplett struck Potts twice, then Potts left the room, returned and told Triplett to leave because he was embarrassing him, she said.
Triplett, who was seated, told Potts he was going “to blow your s— out,” Askew testified.
After Potts made a remark, Triplett went towards him. Askew, however, said she did not see the fatal altercation near the bathroom because her view was blocked by an extended wall.
Potts testified Triplett had a black-handled pocket knife that Potts kicked out of his hand then grabbed. He said he stabbed Triplett, who was on top of him hitting him.
Triplett stumbled back to the chair holding his bleeding chest and asked someone to call 911.
The two women fled. The second woman could not be located by authorities.