Grand Rapids Woman Rejects Manslaughter Plea Bargain, Will Go to Trial for Open Murder

43-year-old Ynes Danyelle Lee of Grand Rapids is charged with open murder in the killing of her husband, Bertram Nathaniel Lee, in August of last year. On Wednesday, Lee rejected an offer by prosecutors to plead guilty to manslaughter or second-degree murder, according to news reports at If convicted, Lee will potentially face life in prison.

On August 17, Lee allegedly stabbed her 52-year-old husband with a steak knife at the couples’ apartment. He died just over a week later at Mercy Saint Mary’s Health Care from his injuries.

The couple had been married for 13 years; during that time, Bertram Lee had been convicted of domestic violence on at least three occasions. The defendant filed for divorce in 2011, but it was never finalized. Bertram Lee pleaded guilty to attempted domestic violence in April of 2011 and was placed on probation for two years. Lee swore out a personal protection order in May of 2011 against her husband, saying that he had been violent with her on and off over a 12-year period.

Had Lee accepted the prosecutor’s plea agreement and pleaded guilty to manslaughter as a two-time felony offender, she would have faced six to 22 1/2 years in prison. A guilty plea to second-degree murder would have left her facing any number of years to life in prison.

Michigan criminal defense attorneys understand that in some cases a defendant feels justified in his or her actions, and chooses not to plead guilty to a crime that individual feels he or she is innocent of. Perhaps Lee was acting in self defense, in fear of her own life. A guilty plea would have left her under a cloud of suspicion for the remainder of her life.

Choosing to go to trial on charges of open murder is tough; hopefully if Lee was acting in self-defense and protecting her own life, she will have an effective criminal defense lawyer in her corner who will win at trial.

If you have been accused of manslaughter, murder, or any homicide offense, contact a highly experienced and capable defense attorney who will work vigorously to secure positive results.

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