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    Grandparents appear in court after 5-year-old shot

    By Ken Kolker,


    ​WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (WOOD) — Both sets of Braxton Dykstra’s grandparents were in court on Thursday: the maternal grandparents charged in the 5-year-old boy’s death, and the paternal grandparents, saying they were there to make sure their grandson gets justice.

    Karl Robart, 62, and his wife, Theresa Robart, 64 — grandparents of Braxton on his mother’s side — were in Newaygo County District Court together, appearing separately in front of the judge.
    Theresa Robart, Braxton Dykstra’s maternal grandmother, appears in court on May 16, 2024, alongside attorney Terry Nolan.
    Grandparents arrested in 5-year-old’s shooting death

    Both waived their preliminary hearings and were ordered to stand trial in Newaygo County Circuit Court.

    The grandparents on Braxton’s father’s side sat near the back of the courtroom.

    “We want to know what’s going on,” paternal grandmother Shawn Dykstra told News 8. “We don’t want to hear it secondhand. We want to make sure we know exactly what’s happening, and we’re supporting my grandson and my son and my daughter-in-law.”
    Braxton Dykstra’s paternal grandparents sit in the courtroom on May 16, 2024.
    Father plans to teach gun safety to honor slain 5-year-old

    The Robarts are accused of leaving a 12-gauge shotgun behind a bedroom door in their home outside Newaygo, near where their grandchildren were watching movies.

    On April 1, a 6-year-old grandson picked up the gun , pointed it at his little cousin Braxton, and pulled the trigger, killing him with birdshot.

    The grandfather told police he had kept the gun unloaded .

    Police say they found other unsecured weapons and ammunition in the home.

    “That little boy didn’t deserve what happened,” the paternal grandmother said. “There’s just no reason. It’s just unfair. He should still be here, and he’s not, so it’s really tough.”
    5-year-old Braxton Dykstra. (Courtesy family)
    Gun ‘never loaded,’ owner said after 5-year-old shot

    The Robarts are charged with a felony violation of Michigan’s new safe storage law involving the death of a minor. If convicted, they face up to 15 years in prison.

    They are among the first in the state charged with violating the law, which went into effect in February. The charge has also been filed in cases in Genesee and Macomb counties on the other side of the state.

    The grandfather is being held in jail on a $50,000 cash/surety bond. The grandmother was released from jail, also on a $50,000 cash/surety bond.

    MSP: 6-year-old had gun when 5-year-old was killed near Newaygo

    John Greer, attorney for the accused grandfather, refused to discuss details of the case.

    “You saw him in there,” he said of the grandfather. “He’s very depressed.”

    The grandmother’s attorney, Terry Nolan, said she is devastated by the loss of her grandson. He also refused to talk about details.

    “It’s a very tragic case. Very tragic,” he said. “I have to say this is probably one of the most difficult cases I’ve ever had in my life. She’s also the person that walked in and found him, and that is probably a memory that she will never be able to let go of.”

    It’s not clear what, if any, help the 6-year-old cousin who fired the shot is getting, though Braxton’s paternal grandmother said she heard he’s getting counseling.

    She said Braxton’s 7-year-old sister, who witnessed the shooting, has also seen a counselor.

    “That’s a tough one,” she said. “You can see it in her eyes. She’s so sad. Part of her is gone, and you just look at her and you see it in her eyes.”

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