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Published: Tuesday, 11/13/2007

2 Michigan teens charged in killing and beheading


DETROIT - Two thrill-seeking teenagers stabbed an adult acquaintance, took a blowtorch to his corpse, and threw his severed head into a river, prosecutors said yesterday as they charged the pair.

Canton High School senior Jean Pierre Orlewicz, 17, and Alexander James Letkemann, 18, ambushed 26-year-old Daniel Sorenson on Wednesday in a garage owned by young Orlewicz's grandfather, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said. A tarp had been spread on the floor, she said.

"They lured him in the garage, where they prepared a space to kill him," Ms. Worthy said.

Sorenson, who had worked as a bouncer, was stabbed multiple times in the back, his head sawed off, and his body wrapped in the tarp, authorities said. The pair burned his hands and feet with a blowtorch, possibly in an effort to conceal his identity, Ms. Worthy said.

The teens loaded Sorenson's torso in a pickup, dumped it in a cul-de-sac in Northville Township, and set it on fire, using gasoline, Ms. Worthy said. A utility crew found it Thursday.

Sorenson's head was found Saturday in the Rouge River between Detroit and Dearborn Heights, about 15 miles from where the torso was found.

Sorenson's history as a registered sex offender in Michigan and Illinois and the fact that he may have owed his attackers a small amount of money appear to have had nothing to do with his death, Ms. Worthy said.

Sorenson was convicted in Illinois when he was 17 of having sex with a 14-year-old girl, police said.

"We've all seen a lot. We've seen it all," Ms. Worthy said of investigators in the case. "Still, a crime like this surprises us all.

"Anytime anyone kills just because they want to, and that's what the evidence seems to suggest here, is bone-chilling."

Raymond Cassar, Mr. Letkemann's attorney, urged the public not to rush to judgment.

The pair were arraigned yesterday on one count each of first-degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and mutilation of a corpse. Not guilty pleas were entered on their behalf. Both were ordered held without bond. They are due in court on Monday.

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