Articles Posted in Murder

Original Case Details

A man and woman from Flint have been charged in the death of a 68-year-old woman who was supposed to be in their care. Robert Stilwill and Lori Rosebush were both supposed to be caretakes of Bonnie Fisher, who was found dead in her home on Bloor Avenue in Flint. Rosebush is Fisher’s sister, while Stilwill is a friend of Rosebush. At the time of Fisher’s death, investigators say that Fisher weighed only 69 pounds, was severely malnourished, and had not seen a doctor in about four years. Autopsy results showed that Fisher had multiple broken bones, including a broken arm, shoulder, and pelvis. Investigators estimate that Fisher had been in bed and never moved since the fall of 2019. Rosebush is also accused of stealing Social Security money due her receiving money to take care of Fisher. Rosebush was found with $15,000 in cash in her purse when she was arrested. Both Rosebush and Stilwill are being held at the Genesee County Jail without bond for their charges.68916_law_education_series_2-300x225

The Criminal Charges and Potential Penalties

Original Case Details

Paul Gabriel stands charged with open murder for the shooting death of AJ Federighe, a neighbor and fellow resident of Balcom’s Cove condominiums located on Muskegon Lake. Federighe was 22 years old at the time of the shooting. Gabriel was subject to an ongoing feud with Federighe’s father, Tony Federighe, and Gabriel had previously called and spoken to the Muskegon Prosecutor’s office about threats from the Federighe family. The day before the shooting, Gabriel had two conversations over the phone with a Muskegon County assistant prosecutor about the ongoing threats. One of these conversations lasted almost 15 minutes. Gabriel’s attorney contends that Gabriel had received information about his right to self-defense in these phone calls, as well as background information about the Federighe family. Gabriel’s attorney filed a motion to disqualify the prosecutor’s office, stating that since members of the prosecutor’s office are likely to be witnesses at trial, an awkward situation would arise where it could be viewed as if the staff would testify in a certain way to keep their jobs. iStock_000013714975_Double-2-300x217

The Judge’s Decision

Original Case Details

A video surfaced during the last week of May which showed a Minneapolis police officer restraining a man by kneeling on his neck until he lost consciousness and eventually died. Three other officers stood by and prevented anyone else from intervening to try to save the man. The man, George Floyd, is now someone known worldwide and has become the latest victim of unchecked police brutality. Floyd was pinned down for nearly nine minutes, as he called for help and repeatedly told the officer that he couldn’t breathe. The video shows Floyd pinned after he lost consciousness for almost three minutes. The officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with third degree murder as well as a manslaughter charge. The other three officers as of this writing still have not been arrested or charged with anything. This incident as well as how it has been handled has sparked worldwide protests and outrage. A search into police records has shown that Minneapolis police officers have used neck restraints on 428 people since 2012, with at least 58 of those people losing consciousness due to the neck restraint. About two thirds of the people put into neck restraints were black, a stark number considering the black population in Minneapolis is less than 20% of the city’s population. iStock_000025943007_XXXLarge-2-300x200

Nationwide Protests

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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