Articles Posted in Violent Crime

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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In August of last year, 33-year-old Martez Terrill Gardner of Ypsilanti Township reportedly shot a man at a Citgo gas station as the man was trying to run away after the men had become involved in an argument who one witness said was over a woman. Gardner was charged with first-degree premeditated murder initially, but has now accepted a plea deal in which he pleaded no contest to second-degree murder.

Gardner was also charged with carrying a weapon with unlawful intent, possessing a firearm as a feloniStock_000008551433_Large-2-300x200, possessing ammunition as a felon, three counts of felony firearm, and illegally carrying a concealed weapon.

Gardner is a habitual offender, having served time for unarmed robbery, malicious destruction of fire or police property, and probation for other criminal charges. Under the plea agreement his habitual status and first-degree murder charge will be dismissed at sentencing. After pleading no contest, he will serve 30 to 55 years for the death of 25-year-old Derius James.

In December of last year, Michael Robert Young, 27 and a former supervisor at Aramark was found guilty of solicitation to commit assault with intent to cause great bodily harm. Young, of Kincheloe, was recently sentenced and now faces up to five years in prison for the felony conviction. iStock_000011602905_Large-2-300x200

According to news reports, Young was employed by Aramark at Kinross Correctional Facility when he allegedly solicited an inmate to assault another inmate who Young said was incarcerated for murdering one of his relatives. The inmate Young allegedly wanted to harm was located at a different correctional facility. An article at The Detroit News stated that Young gave the inmate the other inmate’s name, location, prisoner number, and other details.

State officials revealed in a statement that the inmate Young was attempting to solicit told the Michigan Department of Corrections about Young’s plot. Young was charged in May of 2015, and was sentenced this month.

For five months, authorities in Louisiana had been searching for a suspect in an attempted murder case. On Tuesday January 26, 29-year-old Curtis Obraine Scott was spotted by a Muskegon police officer as he walked down Allen Avenue, according to news reports. Scott has now been arrested, more than 1,000 miles from Ferriday, Louisiana where the alleged attempted murder took place last August.  iStock_000002709890_Large-2-300x200

Scott had been at a nightclub in Ferriday, where Darren Curry and his girlfriend had also been. Curry had reportedly become involved in a fight with Scott and two other men, and left the bar with his girlfriend. As they were heading home in Curry’s vehicle, someone yelled which got his attention. He saw the three men, and shots rang out. Curry claimed to have heard five shots, one of which struck him in the side according to a Ferriday police officer’s affidavit. Police said two of the bullets landed on the passenger seat while three penetrated Curry’s vehicle.

Scott’s girlfriend reportedly has family in Michigan, according to a Ferriday police dispatcher. His location was tracked through credit card use. At last news reports, Scott was awaiting extradition to Louisiana where he will face two counts of attempted second-degree murder. He was arrested without incident, and held in the Muskegon County Jail.

In 2001, Richard Masterson was found guilty of the February strangulation of 35-year-old Darrin richard-mHoneycutt in Houston, TX.  Masterson is scheduled to be executed in less than three weeks, however his lawyers are now arguing that Masterson’s conviction was based on a questionable confession and botched autopsy, according to an article at the Houston Chronicle.  The victim was a female impersonator, according to reports.

According to Masterson, the two were engaged in sexual activity when Honeycutt accidentally died.  However, Masterson’s attorneys contend that the Harris County medical examiner erroneously classified the victim’s death as a homicide, even though while the death was attributed to strangulation the medical examiner suggested the victim’s neck had not been subject to deadly pressure.  Masterson’s lawyers claim that at the time he confessed to the crime, he was suffering from mental illness.
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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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On Thursday November 19, former Inkster police officer William Melendez was found guilty of assault with intent to do great bodily harm in the beating of a motorist during a traffic stop. The beating of 58-year-old Floyd Dent, who is black, was captured on video. Melendez was also charged with assault by strangulation, however he was cleared of that charge. He was also found guilty of misconduct in office. iStock_000014700004_XXXLarge (2)

The incident which led to the charged occurred in January, when Melendez pulled Dent over for disregarding a stop sign. A dash cam video captured the scene, which according to news reports shows Melendez punching Dent in the head 16 times. Following airing of the footage on a local news station, Melendez was terminated. Dent suffered several injuries including blood on his brain and broken ribs, and was awarded $1.4 million by the city of Inkster, a Detroit suburb.

Melendez’s attorney said during the trial that his client was justified in assaulting Dent, because the defendant resisted police and was aggressive at the time of the traffic stop. He also said that following his December 3rd sentencing hearing, Melendez plans to appeal his conviction.

On Tuesday November 3, Dominick Wright was arrested in Tulsa, Oklahoma following a tip Crime Stoppers in Flint received which led them to Wright, a man wanted for allegedly shooting and killing Jermaine Moore in May of this year. iStock_000008551433_Large (2)

The Crime Stoppers agency was offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information that would lead to Wright’s arrest, and while numerous tips were received, director Julie Lopez said one in particular led them to find the fugitive more than 900 miles away.

The shooting took place at just after 8:30 in the evening on May 27, as people gathered to mourn a man at a nearby park who had passed away after suffering a heart attack. Authorities believe Wright shot 35-year-old Jermaine Moore when the two became involved in a dispute over a parking spot.

On Wednesday November 4, a woman was allegedly robbed of her purse at Delaware Street SE and South Division Avenue in Grand Rapids by two young men who used a BB gun to frighten the woman, who was not injured. iStock_000000341623_Large (2)

According to a news article a, the two men, who are cousins, were apprehended just a few minutes later after the woman called police; they were riding bicycles when police spotted one of the suspects who appeared to have a BB gun in the pocket of his sweatshirt. Grand Rapids Police Captain Vincent Reilly said the older cousin, who is 24, told police he was on probation for a prior armed robbery offense. The younger cousin had marijuana in his possession, according to Reilly.

The two cousins who were arrested. 20-year-old Moises Espino is charged with one count of armed robbery and possession of marijuana. 24-year-old Ezra Osorio-Espino is charged with armed robbery as a second-time habitual offender. Both were held on $100,000 bond. Police believe the cousins may have been involved in a similar incident earlier in the evening in which two men on bicycles attempted to steal a college student’s backpack.

On Saturday evening September 26th, a 58-year-old Wayne man died after being struck in the head with an ax. Now his roommate, 26-year-old Jesse Gunderson, has been arraigned on charges of first-degree murder. Gunderson pleaded not guilty in the death of Danny Dart, according to news reports. iStock_000011602905_Large (2)

Gunderson had been staying at Dart’s home for several weeks; an altercation occurred in the backyard, according to neighbors. One neighbor found Dart lying in his driveway according to a resident in the area of the home located in the 4500 block of Chamberlain Street. An article at stated that a couple lived at the home (presumably Dart and his wife), and that a relative (Gunderson) was visiting the couple from out of state. Gunderson had been at the home for several weeks. Authorities revealed the weapon used to strike Dart in the head was an ax.

Gunderson was denied bond; he is scheduled to appear in court again on October 6th.

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