Articles Posted in Murder

In October of last year, 51-year-old Tewanna Sullivan and 66-year-old Cheryl Livy became involved in an argument over presidential politics. In the end, Sullivan allegedly killed Livy using a slow cooker; she allegedly had a blood alcohol level of .41, according to a news article at Mlive.com. This level is more than five times the legal driving limit of .08 percent in Michigan. 243545_s

The incident occurred in a HUD housing high-rise in Livonia. The two women were close friends, according to Sullivan’s godfather, Marvin Jones who said the two women were “tight.” Sullivan’s attorney said that his client suffered mental issues which are possibly related to surgeries she had undergone in 2009 for a brain aneurysm. Sullivan was initially charged with first-degree premeditated murder, however the prosecutor’s office agreed to dismiss the charge in exchange for Sullivan’s guilty plea. Had Sullivan gone to trial on first-degree premeditated murder charges and been convicted, she would have faced automatic life in prison.

A news article at Click on Detroit stated that Sullivan struck Livy in the head repeatedly with the slow cooker until the victim became unconscious. She was transported to the hospital and pronounced brain dead when her family decided to take her off life support.

On Friday October 31, two individuals were arraigned in the October 27 shooting death of 76-year-old Kenneth LaBita, a longtime Plymouth Township resident. LaBita was found inside his home just east of Haggerty on the evening of the 27th; he had been shot to death, according to police. Personal Safety Guides Protect Yourself Against Sex Crimes Pic

A news article at the Detroit Free Press claims that LaBita had lived in the home for approximately 40 years. His body was discovered when officers were dispatched to the home to check on his welfare. LaBita was discovered lying on the floor, a gunshot wound to his head.

In the first days, investigators had no leads in the case. According to Tom Tiderington, Plymouth Township Police Chief, detectives began working around the clock to make progress in the case. Tips from both the public and other law enforcement agencies, along with telephone records, led authorities to one of the suspects, 22-year-old Andrew Nutt of Westland. Another individual, 19-year-old Miriah Pisarski of Wayne, has also been charged in the case. Both are charged with felony murder, first-degree premeditated murder, larceny, and using a gun during a felony.

Earlier this week, a Wayne man was charged in the September 4 homicide of a Bloomfield Township resident. Bart Mitchell Spencer, a 45-year-old handyman, is suspected of murdering 77-year-old William Whitelaw. According to news reports at the Detroit Free Press, Spencer has an extensive criminal record. hammer-627349-m

At the time of news reports, an arraignment date and time could not be set as Spencer had allegedly violated his parole and was in custody of federal authorities. While several individuals were arrested in connection with Whitelaw’s death, Spencer is the only one charged in the homicide as authorities believe he carried out the murder alone.

According to the news article, Spencer did work for several residents who lived in the condo complex where Whitelaw lived. He had also done work for the victim, and was well-known in the complex. On the evening of September 4, authorities were dispatched to the victim’s condo after Whitelaw’s son called 911 and reported a deceased person.

On May 24, 27-year-old Alicia Fox and her two children went missing. Fox’s body was eventually located by relatives in an abandoned home in Detroit, however the children, 6-year-old Kaylah Hunter, and 8-month-ol Kristian Justice, have yet to be found. Erin Justice, Alicia’s husband, was charged with murder and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment hearing on Wednesday, August 27, according to a news article at Mlive.com. gun-1036905-m

Erin Justice has not been charged with any crime related to the disappearance of the children, one of whom was his, but he did flee to Atlanta after his wife went missing. He fought extradition from Atlanta until recently, and is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, who was found to have bullet wounds. Authorities believe Fox was killed in the home she and Justice shared before her body was moved to the basement in an abandoned home. Her decomposing body was found in early August. During the investigation into Fox’s disappearance, police found blood evidence in the couple’s home on Ardmore.

In addition to first-degree murder, Justice is charged with felony firearm and felon in possession of a firearm.

Michigan criminal defense attorneys know that fighting charges of murder is tough. If convicted of first-degree murder, Justice will likely face consequences that include spending the rest of his life behind bars. As with all crimes, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors in the case will have to provide strong and compelling evidence in order for Justice to be found guilty.

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Alex-AdamowiczOn Tuesday May 13, 21-year-old Alex Adamowicz was arraigned on a charge of open murder in the killing of a man who was found in Adamowicz’s closet by his mother on Mother’s Day and who is believed to be the body of 51-year-old John Watson, a neighbor.  The body has not been positively identified, however authorities believe it is Watson’s body and are waiting for fingerprints.  The body was badly decomposed and believed to have been in the closet for at least two weeks, according to a news article at the Detroit Free Press.

Adamowicz and Watson lived in the same apartment complex, Tivoli Apartments on West Maple Road.  Adamowicz claims that the two become involved in a verbal argument that escalated to physical violence, and a knife being involved. The argument allegedly began over Watson’s loud music.  Watson’s wrists were cut; he was also stabbed in the neck.  The defendant claims that a baseball bat was also used by both men during the physical altercation.

On Mother’s Day the defendant’s mother discovered the body in a closet, and took Adamowicz to authorities with a written confession.  Police went to the apartment, whether they found a badly decomposing body reportedly wrapped in cellophane and blankets.  Adamowicz had also been using spray deodorizers and cat litter deodorizer powder to mask the smell of the victim’s body. Continue reading

young_offenderIn 1994, Cyrus Wilson, who was 19 years old at the time, was put in prison for allegedly murdering a man in East Nashville as revenge for stealing his car.  Christopher Luckett’s body was found under a chain-link fence; he was shot in the face with a shotgun, according to a news article at The Tennessean.  Wilson, who has maintained his innocence for two decades, was found guilty based mostly on the testimony of a few juvenile witnesses.  Now, two of those witnesses have come forth and admitted that they lied at the time of the murder due to pressure from police.

Patrick McNally, Wilson’s defense attorney, spent part of the day on Tuesday May 13th laying out the issues with his client’s conviction before the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.  Not only have two of the primary witnesses now recanted their stories, a note was discovered in a prosecutor’s file that the defense lawyer in the original case never saw.  The shorthand note read “Good case but for most of witnesses are juveniles who have already lied repeatedly.”  In addition, a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report revealed that the shells found at Luckett’s murder scene did not match the shotgun police claim Wilson used in the murder.

The two witnesses who claimed at the time that Wilson committed the murder, Rashime Williams and Rodriguez Lee, now say that their testimony was coerced by police, that police were threatening that if the boys didn’t say what police wanted to hear, they would be charged with the murder.  Now, McNally is arguing with the appeals court that there is essentially zero evidence that Cyrus Wilson murdered Christopher Luckett.  McNally went on to say that if the situation were to go back down to the trial court level, the case would not go to trial. Continue reading

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