Articles Posted in Murder

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

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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 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.

On Sunday, August 9, 24-year-old Antonio Lee Albert and 34-year-old Jason Jordan were reportedly in the backseat of a car in Southeast Grand Rapids when an argument began. According to news reports, Albert exited the vehicle, walked around to the other side, then shot at Jordan three to four time, striking him twice in the head. 17821516_s

The vehicle the two were riding in was stopped at a red light in the vicinity of Franklin Street SE and Eastern Avenue as the driver of the car was waiting for the light to turn green. The shooting took place at approximately 7 a.m.

Albert then walked away from the scene, however the driver of the vehicle took the victim to a local hospital, where he died just a short time after his arrival. For several days police were asking for the public’s help in finding Albert; on Thursday he turned himself in. The driver of the car and others who were in the vehicle identified Albert as the man who shot Jordan.

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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On May 29, 32-year-old Joseph Mauti of Independence Township was taken into custody for allegedly killing his wife, 3-year-old Lindsey Mauti, with a baseball bat. According to news reports at The Oakland Press, Mauti beat his wife and dog in front of the couple’s two young children, a 6-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl. Mauti was scheduled to undergo psychological testing approximately three weeks ago, as ordered by a district court judge. garage-door-282316-m

Judge Kelley Kostin referred Mauti to take criminal responsibility and competency exams during a probable cause conference, setting the murder case for potential review on August 13. Mauti is charged with animal cruelty and first-degree premeditated murder. Lindsey Mauti died of blunt force trauma to the head and other injuries, according to the medical examiner. She was a teacher’s aide at Clarkston schools.

Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the Mauti’s home after a caller informed authorities that Lindsey had not come to work or called in. The caller said upon going to the Mauti’s home to check on Lindsey, there was no answer at the door, but a child was looking out a window. Upon their arrival, deputies did not get an answer at the door, however they did see what they believed was blood splatter before forcing their way in. The eventually found Mauti on the floor of the garage; she was deceased. Police recovered two baseball bats they suspected may have been the weapons in the crime.

Recently, a 5-year-old Port Huron girl died due to what authorities believe was malnutrition, according to a news article at Police received a call that Mackenzie Maison was unresponsive in her home. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Reports indicate that two children in the home, both girls ages 3 and 5, were dehydrated, malnourished, and emaciated. Authorities also say there were signs of physical abuse on the two young girls. Port Huron Public Safety Director Michael Reaves said that there were also two boys living at the home, and that they appeared to be in fine condition, with no signs of neglect or abuse. Mackenzie’s father and stepmother are now accused of murder.

Andrew Maison, 25, and Hilery Maison, 27, were arraigned on criminal charges on Friday, May 29. Each is charged with two counts of first-degree child abuse, two counts of torture, and one count of open murder. The Maison’s probable cause hearing is scheduled for June 9. Reaves said that while the parents indicated the children had a reluctance to eat, the physical appearance of the two girls was not in line with what would be considered children who were simply picky eaters or on the thin side.

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