Articles Posted in Homicide

In the world of academia, the crime of voluntary manslaughter was always taught to be a friend of the criminal defense attorney as the punishment for this charge is far less than that of traditional homicide. With that stated, the charge is one of the most serious of crimes in the state of Michigan and the Federal Court System. To learn more about this crime, we turned to leaders in the field of criminal defense in our state. shutterstock_92369299-300x200

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates which has evolved to the top criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan. When asked about voluntary manslaughter, Grabel provided commentary when he stated, “It’s a 15-year felony, and any such charge is one that must be addressed carefully and aggressively. The actual statute is Michigan Penal Code 750.321 and the language reads: Any person who shall commit the crime of manslaughter shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, not more than 15 years or by fine of not more than 7,500 dollars, or both, at the discretion of the court. It is truly one of the more serious crimes that state levies in charging documents.”

Matthew McManus is the founder of Ann Arbor Legal PLLC in Ann Arbor, Michigan and providing commentary when he stated, “What is taught at the law schools of University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Western Michigan Thomas M. Cooley Law School is not the way our criminal justice system applies this crime. In both my criminal law and criminal procedure class, students were told how voluntary manslaughter was a friend of the criminal defense attorney, in reality, it can be a nightmare. What we were taught in school certainly did not take into account a judge that will exceed the “Tanner-Max” on a plea agreement.”

On February 29, 43-year-old Cari Ann Wright of Onondaga Township was charged with murder in the 2015 death of her 16-year-old daughter, who couldn’t walk or talk according to news reports. Wright now stands charged with first-degree child abuse and torture in addition to the murder charge. iStock_000014700004_XXXLarge-2-300x200

The teenage girl could not care for herself and according to court records had not received medical attention in approximately one and a half years. Hannah Warner passed away on November 16; the following day, authorities began an investigation into her death.

At a hearing on Monday, an Ingham County Sheriff’s detective testified that Hannah weighed just 43 pounds. Her death was ruled a homicide. A news article at the Lansing State Journal revealed a warrant was obtained against the defendant on February 24, following the investigation in which the sheriff’s office worked closely with the Ingham County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Recently, a 55-year-old Macomb Township man was charged with first-degree murder after lynnallegedly strangling his 89-year-old father.  According to a news article at, Gregory Lynn Nieman called 911 after he “discovered” his father dead in the home they shared.

Neiman reportedly called authorities after he came into the home on Sunday morning and found his father cold to the touch, and not breathing.  Following an autopsy, Donald Nieman’s death was ruled a homicide; the medical examiner determined he had been strangled.  On Tuesday, Greg Nieman was charged with first-degree premeditated murder.

Nieman is currently held without bond; his next court appearance is scheduled for January 7.
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Recently, a 58-year-old Milford woman was charged with the murder of her 68-year-old husband, who was suffering from dementia according to an article at Yvonne Helen Cortis allegedly bludgeoned Gregory Cortis using a metal rod, then attacked the couple’s dog. iStock_000016750168_Large-2-300x200

The incident occurred on November 30. While Cortis sustained multiple fatal injuries to his head and torso due to blunt force trauma, the 11-year-old golden Labrador retriever, Carly, survived the beating.

A news report at the Detroit Free Press reveals Cortis used a crowbar to beat her husband and the couple’s dog. She reportedly called 911, and told the dispatcher there was a man and dog inside her home in the 1300 block of Nortoon with serious injuries that she had caused. When talking to investigators, Cortis told them that both Gregory Cortis and the dog were sick, and that she put them out of their misery.

In 2012, Brenda Miles Bratschi of Columbia, SC was convicted of the 2004 murder of her estranged husband, Randy Bratschi.  The Bratschi’s lived in a mobile home where the defendant allegedly buried her husband’s body under the home, leaving new owners of the property to find the skeletal remains five years later.  According to a news report at, Randy’s remains were found wrapped in a tarp in a shallow grave.

In November of 2004 the couple allegedly had a violent altercation before Randy Bratschi mysteriously disappeared.  The couple was involved in a domestic dispute about six weeks prior to the victim’s disappearance in which Brenda reportedly beat her husband with a wooden tire thumper.  He was severely injured at that time, and his wife arrested on charges of assault and battery with intent to kill.  She was also served a restraining order at that time.
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Recently, a 14-year-old Detroit teen was accused of attempting to murder his mother.  Tommie Lee Grady has been “adult designated” according to a news article at, which means he may be sentenced as an adult although he will be tried in the juvenile court.

On June 11, Grady’s mother was shot numerous times at the family’s home on Wisconsin in Detroit; it is believed the two were in an argument when he shot at his mother.  Police believe Tommie did the shooting, which occurred at around 8 in the evening.  Reports claim Tommie also turned the gun on his brother, but fled the scene instead of firing at his brother.  His mother was treated at an area hospital and released.  On Friday, the teen was apprehended by police in the area of Meyers and Keeler in Detroit.

Tommie Lee Grady is charged with assault with intent to murder, felonious assault, and being a minor in possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.  The assault with intent to murder charge carries a maximum life prison term for adults, however Grady’s punishment (which may be a mixture of sentencing allowed for an adult or juvenile) will be determined by the judge.  He could be sentenced to life in prison, or a sentence that is less harsh.

On Wednesday June 10, 24-year-old Foster Mudget was charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance causing death after he allegedly gave drugs to a 46-year-old woman who died from an overdose.  The substance allegedly given to the woman, whose name was not released in news reports, was not identified.

mudgetAccording to an article at, the Hart Police Department responded to an address last fall to investigate a drug overdose, which authorities say resulted in the death of the victim.  A press release issued by SSCENT (State Sheriffs Chiefs Enforcement Narcotics Team) stated that Mudget was arraigned in 78th District Court on the two charges.  The Oceana County Prosecutor’s Office issued charges against Mudget following an investigation conducted by SSCENT detectives and Hart police.

Update:  Another news source, Ludington Daily News, claims the substances delivered to the woman who overdosed were heroin and Fentanyl.  The article also reveals that earlier this year, the DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) reported an increase in deaths related to heroin laced with Fentanyl.

On Sunday, March 8, Troy police announced they had taken a man into custody in connection with the fatal shooting death of an Auburn Hills woman. On the previous Saturday evening, 21-year-old Jamila Monet Vigier-Cage was found slumped over the steering wheel of her vehicle. Now, 24-year-old Cory Daniel Mullen has been charged with first-degree murder in the case. walther-cp99-424619-m

According to news articles at and, the victim was found dead in a parking lot in Troy where she worked; she was found by a co-worker, and had allegedly been shot twice, once in the head and once in the chest. Vigier-Cage was employed at One Source, a talent agency that books actors and models.

Police asked for the public’s help in finding Vigier-Cage’s killer, and release a description of his vehicle, a 2002 Chevrolet Impala. He was located within hours in Detroit, and taken into custody for further questioning. Mullen was charged with first-degree murder and felony firearm; he was arraigned on Tuesday in 52-4 District Court, where he pleaded not guilty.

On Monday, July 28, 23-year-old Rajeh Elmawri of Dearborn was charged with torture and first-degree murder in the death of his sister, 30-year-old Asyh Elmawri. gavel

According to news reports at, the brother and sister became involved in an argument that turned deadly. Rajeh Elmawri allegedly strangled his sister on Saturday afternoon at a family home located in the 7500 block of Bingham, and stabbed her numerous times. Dearborn police Chief Ronald Haddad described the incident as a “domestic violence incident that escalated.”

Elmawri family members called 911 to report the argument. When police arrived on the scene, they found Asyh Elmawri’s lifeless body inside the home.

The defendant was arraigned on the charges on Monday before District Judge Sam Salamey who ordered Elmawri jailed on a $1 million bond. His probable cause hearing is scheduled for August 8. A defense attorney will be appointed by the court, according to the Washington Times.

First-degree murder is a very serious charge, and leaves the defendant facing life-changing consequences. The maximum punishment for someone found guilty of this crime is life in prison. Given that the defendant in this case was involved in a domestic dispute with his sister, could he have been acting in self defense? The case remains under investigation, so perhaps a motive or other facts surrounding the case may come to light in the coming days and weeks.

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On the evening of Tuesday, July 1, a two-year-old toddler was killed and two other people injured in a Detroit suburb shooting, according to Michigan State Police who were canvassing the neighborhood at the time in search of information regarding a motive or suspect. Now, police have taken a suspect into custody who they believe was involved in the Inkster shooting, according to news reports at

Other than the two-year-old victim, a 34-year-old man and 12-year-old girl were shot as the three sat on the porch at the home. Michigan State Police told the Associated Press that a single shooter was involved, although eyewitnesses have provided different accounts of whether the suspect left the scene of the crime on foot, got into a waiting car, or fled in a van after firing the gun at the victims. The 12-year-old girl was said to be in critical condition, and the man in stable condition.

On Wednesday July 2, police discovered that the shooting was in retaliation for an incident that occurred in April at an after hours club near the high school. They have taken in a suspect after speaking with the man, who was the two-year-old victim’s father. While the suspect was not named in news reports, he was located at his girlfriend’s home in Brownstown Township and taken into custody. Police are also now seeking a second suspect in the incident.

Michigan criminal defense attorneys would agree that the suspect, who thus far has not been identified, will face serious charges in this case, probably murder or homicide charges. Depending on whether the suspect pleads guilty or goes to trial, he could face up to life in prison if convicted by a jury. In cases where a person is charged with open murder, the jury will decide whether the offender will be charged with first- or second-degree murder.

All homicide charges are extremely serious, and will leave the offender facing a substantial number of years to life in prison if convicted. First-degree murder, the most serious of all charges, will result in life in prison. Second-degree murder (murder that is not premeditated or committed in conjunction with other crimes such as larceny, kidnapping, home invasion, robbery, and other offenses) will result in a prison term of any number of years to life.

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