Articles Posted in Murder/Homicide

Recently, a state appellate court addressed a defendant’s appeal in a Michigan homicide case, arguing that a lower court should have suppressed a statement he made to police during an interrogation because they ignored his request for an attorney.

According to the record, the 19-year-old defendant lived in the same neighborhood as the victim and was friends with him since kindergarten. The state contends that the defendant shot and killed the victim in a wooded area near the neighborhood, and returned to the scene about a month later to show his girlfriend the victim’s body. The man and his girlfriend dismembered the victim’s remains and stuffed them in a duffle bag. During their investigation, police became aware that the defendant had some knowledge of the victim’s whereabouts—a short time after detectives received specific information linking the defendant to the murder. Specifically, the man’s girlfriend confessed to a family friend that she knew the location of the victim’s body. After locating body parts in the defendant’s backyard, they located him at a drug rehabilitation facility, woke him up, and arrested him.

After two hours of questioning, the defendant first claimed that he shot the victim accidentally in self-defense. The defendant claimed that he asked for a lawyer; however, the detectives responded, “do you have an attorney that can come here at four o’clock in the morning.” Later in the discussion, the defendant admitted to intentionally shooting the victim while he was lying on the ground.

Earlier this month, a state appellate court released an opinion in a Michigan homicide case involving the defendant’s claim that his attorney should have requested a jury instruction on involuntary manslaughter. Ultimately, the court agreed, vacating the defendant’s conviction and ordering a new trial.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, police were called for a report of retail theft. Upon arriving at the scene, they saw the suspect get into the passenger seat of a Ford truck. The officer tried to pull the truck over, but the defendant, who was driving the truck, sped off. After a lengthy pursuit, the defendant crashed into another vehicle. As a result of the accident, one person died, and several others were seriously injured. The defendant was charged with several crimes, including second-degree murder.

At trial, the defendant’s main argument was that there was insufficient evidence to establish he was guilty of second-degree murder. The jury found the defendant guilty, and he was sentenced to 40 to 60 years on the murder charge. The defendant appealed on several issues.

Continue Reading ›

Earlier this year, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Michigan homicide case discussing the lower court’s decision to exclude evidence of the defendant’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ultimately, the court determined that the lower court properly excluded the evidence and denied the defendant’s appeal.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the defendant was involved in an altercation with the co-owner of an after-hours club. Evidently, the two men got into an argument earlier in the evening, and witnesses heard both men saying that they would return with a gun. The victim returned with a shotgun, that he held at his side as he locked up the club. The defendant also returned to the club. While no one saw what happened, it was uncontested that the victim was shot eight times. Later, the defendant admitted to shooting the victim.

At trial, the defendant attempted to present evidence that he had PTSD. PTSD is a mental health condition that stems from a traumatic event. Those who have PTSD can be triggered by certain events, sounds, sights, or feelings, bringing them back to the moment of the original trauma. Evidently, the defendant was the victim of a prior shooting, that left him with permanent brain damage. In the defense expert’s opinion, this affected the defendant’s ability to control his impulses when he felt threatened. The defendant intended on admitting the evidence to help establish his claim that he shot the victim in self-defense.

Continue Reading ›

In March, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Michigan homicide case discussing the propriety of a show-up identification made by a witness. A show-up identification is one in which police show a single person to a witness, asking if that is the person they believe committed the crime.

Show-up identifications are inherently suspect because they are suggestive in that the witness will almost always know that the person they are asked about is being investigated for their involvement in a crime. Thus, courts require law enforcement officers to take special precautions to ensure these identification procedures are not unfairly suggestive.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the defendant was pulled over on suspicion of homicide after his vehicle was identified by a witness. Another witness, Jones, identified the defendant as the shooter. At the time of the shooting, Jones was riding in the back seat of a car. Jones described the shooter as a bald black man wearing black pants and a white shirt.

Continue Reading ›

A 21-year-old man has been charged withsecond-degree murder in a crash on Detroit’s west side that killed a young girl and left four others hurt.image

The incident occurred February 17 when the driver of a Chrysler Sebring sped through a stop sign and lost control of the vehicle. The car struck a parked car and smashed into a tree.

A three-year-old passenger in the car was killed. The driver and three other passengers – all of whom were minors – were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Contact Information