Darwin Jiles, Jr., has emerged as a controversial
character within the Michigan Republican Party since he declared his candidacy
for one of the vice chairman positions up for grabs at this weekend’s state
The internal debate was sparked by revelations that
Jiles, 29, is on probation after pleading guilty last year to a misdemeanor
charge for shooting an acquaintance in his Auburn Hills trailer park. But that
black mark on his record is nearly trivial compared to the violent gun crime he
committed when he was a 15-year-old living in Flint, according to court
Jiles was charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder, one charge
of illegally carrying a concealed weapon, and one charge of using a firearm during
the commission of a felony.
Facing that barrage of felonies, the records indicate
that Jiles arranged a plea bargain and pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of
assault with intent to do great bodily harm, plus the felony firearms charge.
Republican’s Lansing convention to the vice chair position representing the
ethnic/minority block of the state GOP.
As he looks forward to a career in politics, Jiles went
on a charm offensive after he was charged in the 2014 Auburn Hills shooting,
insisting that the incident was an accident, not a crime. But apparently
everyone wooed by his PR campaign forgot to ask Jiles if he had ever been
convicted previously of criminal activity.
Details of the first crime are not readily available but,
according to the court, Jiles was sentenced in November 2001 as a juvenile, not
an adult, and was ordered to serve time in the medium-security section of the Maxey Training School – a juvenile detention center for boys in Whitmore Lake.
under the supervision of the state social services agency, then known as the
Family Independence Agency (FIA), and he was required to undergo treatment at
the Shawono Center in Grayling.
The court summary does not specify what type of treatment
he received, though he was still at Shawono in May 2002 when the sentencing
judge ordered him to complete the program.
is a state-run, 40-bed treatment facility for male juveniles between the ages of
12 and 21 years who have committed felonies. The center offers four specialized
treatment programs: for sex offenders, addictions/substance abuse, general
criminals, and delinquents.
there, Jiles was sent to Maxey until he was released to the care of his
grandfather in September 2003. Jiles’ father, also Darwin Jiles, had served 2½ years
in Jackson State Prison beginning in 1990 after being charged with a similar felony
crime – assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. The elder
Jiles was killed in 2008.
Known in Flint as
a community activist, Jiles has said that he moved to Auburn Hills to get away
from the crime-plagued streets of his hometown.