Articles Posted in Murder

Original Case Details

Midland County Circuit Judge Stephen P. Carras recently issued a ruling upholding the life sentence of a then-juvenile convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering a 32-year-old female jogger back in June of 1983. Brian K. Granger was 17 years old and considered a juvenile when he allegedly attacked the then-mother of three in Jasper Township near Midland. He was found guilty of first-degree murder by then-judge Tyrone Gillespie back in 1984. Granger, now 54 years old, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after he was tried and convicted for the murder as an adult. With this conviction and sentence, Granger earned the title “juvenile lifer” as too many others have earned the same title. iStock_000011602905_Large-2-300x200

What Is A Juvenile Lifer?

Original Case Details

A Detroit man was convicted back in 2008 of second-degree murder after he paid someone $20 to burn down an abandoned house which resulted in the death of a firefighter who went to attempt to extinguish the fire. The man who actually set the fire cut a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to second degree murder and testify against the Detroit man. Due to his cooperation, the man was sentenced to 17 to 30 years as part of his plea agreement. He testified that the man wanted the house burned down to collect insurance money and escape from a mortgage that he was behind on.

The man was later sentenced by Wayne County Circuit Judge Margaret Van Houten to a minimum sentence of 37 years, which far exceeded the minimum sentence set by the Michigan Criminal Sentencing Guidelines manual. The man’s sentencing guidelines were from 19 to 31 years for the conviction. The sentencing guidelines are meant to ensure that people are sentenced consistently across the state no matter if the case happened in a small town or a big city. If a judge wants to exceed or go below the sentencing guidelines, then the judge has to state on the record why he or she is doing so. If the judge goes outside the sentencing guidelines and does not give a proper explanation and finding on the record as to why he or she is going outside the guidelines, then that case can be ripe for an appeal. That is exactly what has happened in this case. The Michigan Court of Appeals has acknowledged the tragic nature of this case, but also stated that the Wayne County judge did not properly explain why the man deserved such a significant sentence that exceeded his guidelines. iStock_000009369669_Full-2-300x247

Original Case Details

Kevin Harrington and George Clark are two men who have been recently released from prison after their convictions as co-defendants for the murder of Michael Martin have been overturned due to newly discovered evidence and the cooperation of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. The University of Michigan Law School Innocence Clinic was the main driving force behind Harrington from the beginning of his appeals. The assistant director of the clinic actually first worked on Harrington’s case as a law student back in 2009, and now gets to finally see his release. Harrington had to endure four jury trials before he was convicted and sent to prison. His first trial resulted in a verdict that was overturned, his next two trials resulted in hung juries, and the fourth resulted in the murder conviction that he has spent over 17 years in prison for. Clark was convicted by a jury at his first trial back in 2003 and has been imprisoned since. Both men were originally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the shooting death of victim. Now that these men have been let out, they find themselves in the middle of a COVID-19 affected society. Because of the current pandemic, they have to spend 14 days in quarantine until they can be cleared to return to normal society. Harrington checked into a Canton hotel, while Clark is staying with family in Washtenaw County. iStock_000011602905_Large-2-300x200

Newly Discovered Evidence

For many in the criminal justice system, one case that stands out is the Atlanta Child Murders as it was a case that shook our nation. From May of 1979 to July of 1981 there were 29 children that were murdered in Atlanta, Georgia. The victims were all young black males and it was believed that 23-year-old Wayne Williams was responsible for the murders. Nearly 40 years after the tragedy, there has remained many doubts on the murders. mh9aNUq

On March 21, 2019, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields announced that officials would re-test evidence from the murders, which will be gathered by the Atlanta Police Department, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, and Georgia Bureau of Investigation. In a news conference, Mayor Bottoms said, “It may be there is nothing left to be tested. But I do think history will judge us by our actions and we will be able to say we tried.” Below is a list of the murdered children, the date of their disappearance and the cause of their deaths.

Name – Age- Date of Disappearance – Cause of Death – Case Status

The Michigan Supreme Court made a directive to the state Court of Appeals review the conviction of a man in a murder-for-hire case. This man was convicted despite another man confessing to the killing as a hit man. The 40-year-old man was convicted of first-degree murder back in 2005. This decision comes on the heels of a 2018 evidentiary hearing where the person purporting to be the true killer gave recorded testimony that he committed the murder, not the man who was convicted. iStock_000011711335_Full-2-300x200

Original Case Details

Thelonious Searcy was convicted for the 2004 murder of Jamal Segers back in 2005. Vincent Smothers, who is in prison after confessing to eight different murders, came forward in multiple affidavits that he killed Segers. During an evidentiary hearing in 2018, Smothers made this same confession in court. Smothers testified that the killing happened close to Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport in Detroit. Smothers intended to go to what was called the “Black Party,” which was a fundraiser for the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund. This fundraiser was being held inside the airport. Smothers said that the party was attended by multiple drug dealers. On the way to the fundraiser, Smothers saw Segers in congested traffic and decided that was his opportunity to rob him. He parked his car at a gas station and Smothers, along with another man walked towards Segers’ car and shot up the back of the car, killing Segers and another man inside the car. While Smothers and his partner tried to escape, an unmarked police car pulled up. A subsequent crash and shootout happened. But Smothers and his partner escaped from the police on that day.

In the state of Michigan, the most serious of crimes is the first-degree murder statute. With a conviction of this crime, the Defendant faces life in prison without the possibility of parole and more often than not, the prosecutor on the case will not be allowed to offer a beneficial plea to the Defendant. This means that the criminal defense lawyer needs to be prepared to take the case to trial if they choose to take on this challenge. Hiring the right criminal lawyer for such a charge is essential if the Defendant is to have a chance at freedom. When a prosecutor brings a charge of first-degree murder, it is their burden to prove the following elements: The-History-of-Criminal-Law-Pic-300x200

1. The victim was killed during the crime.

2. The Defendant caused the death of the victim.

On Monday, February 7, 30-year-old Dante L. Johnson was found not guilty of open murder in iStock_000006818663_Full-300x200connection with the 2014 shooting death of Orlando Walker in Kalamazoo.  Walker was shot on July 6, 2014; three people were charged in the shooting incident.  While Johnson was acquitted of the murder charge, he was found guilty of firearm possession by a felon and on one count of felony firearm.

Johnson was charged with open murder in June of last year, after another person charged in the case identified Johnson as the shooter.  Murder charges against Kenneth Langston were dismissed, however four other individuals supported his version of events and accusation that Johnson was the shooter.
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Just before the new year, a 15-year-old girl allegedly shot and stabbed her mother along with her mother’s boyfriend, according to news reports at The New York Times. The girl, Destiny Garcia, is charged with the murder of her mother, 38-year-old Rosie Sanchez, and 40-year-old Anderson Nunez, Sanchez’s boyfriend. The bodies were discovered a few days later when police were brought to the apartment the couple shared on Batchelder Street in Brooklyn. iStock_000061194544_XXXLarge-2-300x200

Garcia’s mother sustained multiple gunshot wounds, and was found in an easy chair; her boyfriend had both gunshot and stab wounds, and was discovered on the floor. The girl has been charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of second-degree murder.

Prosecutors said that Garcia had confessed to the murders on videotape; it was also revealed that another individual helped her in the killings. Garcia told detectives that her actions were self-defense, and that she had been abused physically by her mother in the past.

On Monday November 23, a man’s body was found in his own burning home in Romulus; he was pronounced dead at the scene. The man was 91-year-old Paul Monchnik, a retired television repairman. According to a news report at the Detroit Free Press, authorities aren’t certain whether Monchnik died due to the fire, or the beating he apparently took before the house was set ablaze. When his body was discovered, Monchnik was not only badly burned, but had suffered a serious head injury as well. Personal-Safety-Guides-Protect-Yourself-Against-Sex-Crimes-Pic-300x199

A Detroit teen, 17-year-old George Stewart, has been arrested in the incident and faces charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, and arson. His probable cause hearing is scheduled for December 3, and a preliminary exam has been set for December 10.

Stewart’s grandfather, George Stewart Jr., turned his grandson in to police for questioning, however he said that he hoped and prayed the younger Stewart had nothing to do with the murder. Monchnik was the elder Stewart’s next door neighbor. The grandfather said that until about four days prior to the fire and beating, his grandson had lived in Romulus as well.

On March 26th of this year, a 71-year-old Ypsilanti man was found dead in his home, apparently a victim of a stabbing. Now, a 23-year-old woman has been arrested in the stabbing according to a recent news article at Mlive.com. knife-on-table-1549464

Gary Schneider, the victim, was reportedly stabbed numerous times in the neck and head area after it is believed he and the suspect became involved in a violent discussion. Haleigh Maynard has been charged and arraigned on a single count of open murder in Schneider’s death. No details regarding the circumstances of the argument or the killing have been released.

The victim’s body was discovered in his home when a woman who lived in the area found Schneider’s wallet on a sidewalk and tried to return it. The door of his home was open, and vehicles in the driveway. When the woman received no response, she called police.

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