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Federal Way teen pleads not guilty in Gennings murder | Update

<p>Michael Rogers, 16, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Wesley Gennings during his arraignment at the Regional Justice Center in Kent on March 7. RAECHEL DAWSON, the Mirror</p> -

Michael Rogers, 16, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Wesley Gennings during his arraignment at the Regional Justice Center in Kent on March 7. RAECHEL DAWSON, the Mirror

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A Federal Way teenager pleaded not guilty on Monday to the murder of 16-year-old Wesley Gennings.

Michael Rogers, 16, stood before Judge Chad Allred during his arraignment at the Regional Justice Center in Kent. Prosecutors are trying Rogers as an adult. He is being held on $1 million bail on charges of first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Rogers and accomplice Diante Pellum, 14, are accused of murdering former Decatur High School student Gennings during a marijuana robbery on Feb. 13 in a Federal Way Taco Bell parking lot, according to charging documents.

The night of the shooting, witnesses reported seeing two males exit a vehicle in the parking lot just after hearing a gunshot. Police found Gennings in the vehicle with a fatal gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Charging documents show Pellum and Rogers arranged to meet Gennings to purchase marijuana but planned to rob him instead. At least three others were also involved in the scheme, but charging records do not identify them due to the witnesses' reported fears of retaliation.

These witnesses told police a driver took Pellum and Rogers to a body of water after the shooting, where Rogers got rid of what detectives believe to be a cell phone.

After several tips came in, Rogers was arrested at Thomas Jefferson High School on Feb. 18. During the arrest, police found a loaded .22-caliber handgun on him. In addition to being a minor, Rogers was recently convicted of robbery and assault on Jan. 26 and was prohibited from possessing firearms.

Pellum, a student at Saghalie Middle School, turned himself in on Feb. 20. He was accompanied by an attorney and was charged in juvenile court last month. According to the King County Prosecutor's Office, Pellum's decline hearing, where a judge is expected to determine whether he will be tried as an adult, is scheduled for April 1 in juvenile court.

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