MOUNT CLEMENS, MI — Three men from Warren were charged in the beating death of an Auburn Hills man, found lying unresponsive on Mound Road, early the morning of Thursday, July 4th, 2019.
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith, authorized involuntary manslaughter charges, 15-year felonies, against three men who allegedly beat, repeatedly inflicting deadly blows to the head and body, a man they had just met a few hours earlier.
The victim has been identified as 24-year-old Kenneth Klingler from Auburn Hills.
Police and prosecutors allege that around 1:00 A.M., the trio, who also reside together, and the victim, were driving home from a party. An altercation broke out in the backseat of the vehicle between the victim and one of the defendants. The driver of the vehicle pulled over into a parking lot, where the victim and the defendants exited the vehicle.
The altercation continued for several minutes, with all three defendants exchanging fatal blows with the victim. The altercation ended with the defendants fleeing the parking lot in the vehicle, leaving the victim thrown motionless on the ground.
The victim was able to get up off of the ground, and walk out into southbound Mound Road, before collapsing. The victim was taken to St. John Macomb Hospital where he died from his injuries.
One of the defendants, 23-year-old Christopher Zehnpfennig, a freelance photographer for WXYZ Channel 7, is also a martial arts expert. Police said he took off his shoes during the fight with Klingler and had returned to the scene with another suspect, Christopher Twarowski, to pick them up when the pair were arrested.
Christopher Twarowski, Nathan Domagalski and Christopher Zehnpfennig have all been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
“The repeated fatal blows suffered by the victim at the hands of these defendants is beyond reprehensible. These young men could have walked away rather than engage with the victim. They could have called 9-1-1, knowing the physical state they left the victim in,” stated Macomb County Prosecutor Smith. “Instead they made the most selfish choice possible – they left the scene. And, left the victim to die.”
The three defendants were arraigned Friday afternoon in front Judge John Chmura, 37th District Court in Warren.
Christopher Zehnpfennig was given a $50,000 cash or surety bond. Bond was set for Nathan Domagalski and Christopjer Twarowski, who is unemployed, at $75,000 cash or surety each.
WXYZ has released the following statement in regard to the case:
Chris Zehnpfennig has worked in a freelance, part-time capacity with WXYZ. His ongoing employment status is under review pending this investigation. WXYZ is committed to reporting this story with the same transparency and objectivity it uses with all of its coverage of the Detroit community.
Kenny Klingler’s family has set up a GoFundMe account to receive help with funeral costs.