Flint Shooting Jury Verdict: Guilty

Shots Fired at Two Teen Boys

James Kenneth Seeley, a 33-year-old resident of Flint, has been found guilty of shooting at two 14-year-old boys outside his house in September 2013.

According to police records, at 7 pm on Sunday, September 29th, officers were dispatched to the scene of a shooting near Arizona Avenue and Lewis Street in Flint. Flint police, Genesee County Sheriff’s deputies and Michigan State Police all responded to the alert. They found two young boys, one of whom had been shot in the leg. Continue reading

Traverse City: Soliciting Murder

Former Leelanau Prosecutor Charged

Clarence Gomery, a well-known Traverse City attorney and the man who once served as the Leelanau County prosecutor and also assistant prosecutor in Grand Traverse County, has been arraigned on charges of soliciting murder.

According to police, Gomery attempted to hire someone to murder Christopher Cooke, the attorney who represented Gomery’s ex business partner, Fred Topous, in a 2012 lawsuit against Gomery. Topous sued Gomery for fraud and malpractice over a business deal that went bad. Continue reading

Detroit, Michigan: Steve Utash Update

Defendants Sentenced

Wonzey Saffold, a 30-year-old resident of Detroit and one of the men charged with the mob beating of Steve Utash, was sentenced recently to a minimum of 6 years in prison. He is one of several people who are facing prison sentences for their involvement in the attack on Utash.

Utash was attacked and beaten so brutally that he was hospitalized and held in a medically induced coma for weeks following the attack. The mob that attacked Utash occurred after Utash accidentally hit a 10-year-old boy with his pickup truck. The boy, who was not seriously harmed in the accident, stepped out in front of Utash’s moving vehicle. Continue reading

Livonia Soccer Ref Death

Dearborn Man Facing Charges

On Monday, June 30th, Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad, a 36-year-old resident of Dearborn, MI, was formally arraigned on a felony charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. While Saad’s intention may not have been to kill anyone, and the initial charge was for intending to cause harm but not to kill, tragically, the victim died the very next day after the arraignment.  Saad has now been charged with second degree murder because of this soccer ref death.

John Bieniewicz, a 44-year-old dialysis technician at Mott Children’s Hospital and a soccer referee, was pronounced dead as a result of his injuries on Tuesday, July 1st. He was then kept on a ventilator until his organs could be harvested and donated through Gift of Life.

According to witnesses, the incident occurred at an adult-league soccer match at Miles Park on West Chicago Street in Livonia. Scott Herkes, who was playing on the opposing team, was standing about 30 yards away and saw what happened. “It was terrifying,” he said. Apparently Bieniewicz stopped the game to eject Saad, who was facing his second violation in the game.

While Bieniewicz was looking down, attempting to pull out a red card, Saad punched him in the head, knocking him unconscious. Saad apparently fled the field immediately afterwards, driving off at high speed. A few of the players on the field noted his license plate number and provided a description of the vehicle.

Bieniewicz never regained consciousness after being struck in the head. According to James Acho, who has been a friend of Bieniewicz’s for over 30 years, “The force of the blow to the jaw caused a traumatic impact to the brain.”

Under Michigan law, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.   Now that Saad is charged with Second Degree Murder, the penalties are even greater.   He faces up to life in prison.

Eastern Michigan Football Player Murder

Trial Scheduled in Washtenaw County

The two young men charged with the killing of Eastern Michigan University football player, Demarius Reed, are scheduled to stand trial in the Washtenaw County Trial Court in Ann Arbor.

Reed was found shot to death in the early morning hours of October 18th 2013, in the stairwell of an off campus apartment building in Ypsilanti. His wallet and cell phone were both missing, prompting the police to assume that the motive was robbery. Continue reading

Portage Murder Trial Update

Andy Brown Trial Continues

The trial continues for Andy Brown, the 37-year-old from Portage, MI, who is facing first degree murder charges for the death of his boss, David Locey.

In his opening statements to the jury last Thursday, St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough spoke of Locey’s long-term commitment to Brown’s success, and Brown’s betrayal of that relationship. “This was a cold-blooded killing by Mr. Brown, deliberate and thought-out,” said McDonough.

According to McDonough, Brown lost his CPA license as a result of an embezzlement conviction back in 2005, but Locey took Brown “under his wing” and helped him to get his license back. In the years following that, Locey mentored Brown and even gave him a job in his CPA firm in 2009.

But in the weeks before the murder, the relationship apparently became strained when Brown discovered that, once again, he was facing allegations of embezzlement, and may lose his job. The allegations were the result of clients who claimed to have paid Brown directly for the work he did, but were then billed later for the same work by the firm.

McDonough spoke about the “emotional” meeting between Brown and Locey, held at the firm’s office building, that happened the day before Locey was found dead, three gunshot wounds in his head. He also touched on the gunshot residue found on Brown’s clothing, and the .38 caliber handgun he had access to.

Michael Hills, the defense attorney representing Brown, said in his opening statement that the charges were unfounded and there was no motive. According to Hills, Locey was one of Brown’s few supporters and so it made no sense for Brown to have shot him.

According to Hills, Brown was at his parents’ house and also at his father’s auto shop in downtown Sturgis during the time of the killing, so he wasn’t physically capable of having committed the crime.

He also addressed a footprint that police had found in blood at the scene that didn’t match the shoes of anyone there, including Brown. “There is no motive, and the evidence will point to somebody else, not Mr. Brown,” Hills said.

According to Tammy Brunner, a secretary at Locey CPA, who provided testimony at the trial, both Brown and Locey had appeared “very upset” after the meeting. Brown’s wife, however, who had also attended the meeting, seemed very angry by whatever had been discussed, squealing her tires as she pulled out of the office parking lot.

Brunner had not attended the meeting but had been in the office at the time and had witnessed the aftermath. She was also the person who found Locey’s body the following day and called 911. When calling in the emergency, she told the dispatcher that she thought Brown was the murderer.

Testimony was also provided by Jamie Crites, one of Locey’s friends who drove to the scene, having heard about the killing. He said that Brown was there, bent over and dry heaving, looking “distraught”. He also testified that when Locey’s wife, Cheryl, arrived, she announced that “Andy Brown did it!”

Aside from Brunner and Crites, 8 additional witnesses provided testimony on Thursday, including law enforcement and firefighters who had been at the scene. Gabriel Weekly, one of the firefighters who had been among the first responders at the scene, said that Brown had told him that he didn’t want to see Cheryl, as he “couldn’t face her.”

Brown is facing charges of first degree premeditated murder and felony firearm. First degree murder is a felony and is punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole. Felony firearm refers to the use of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and is also a felony charge. Under Michigan law, felony firearm requires a mandatory 2 year minimum prison sentence.

Montcalm Fleeing and Eluding

Detroit Man Strikes EMT

James Carl Leichtweis, a 54-year-old Detroit man, has been charged with fourth degree fleeing and eluding, and reckless driving. The charges are the result of an incident that occurred on June 25th in the Bethel Lutheran Church parking lot on West Howard City-Edmore Road in Reynolds Township. Leichtweis was found by a citizen, slumped over inside his car which was parked in the church parking lot.  911 was called and the dispatcher sent paramedics to the scene. Continue reading

Washtenaw Robbery and Murder

Flat Rock Man Gets 55 years in prison

Richard Thompson, a 19-year-old from Flat Rock, MI, pled guilty to multiple felonies in court last month, and was sentenced to 55 years in prison by Judge Darlene O’Brien in the Washtenaw County Trial Court on Thursday, June 19th.

In addition to a 32-55 year charge of second degree murder, Thompson was sentenced to two counts of unarmed robbery, larceny in a building, and larceny of a firearm. He will be serving concurrent sentences of 10 to 15 years for the two counts of unarmed robbery, 1 to 4 years for the charge of larceny in a building, and 1 – 5 years for the larceny of a firearm charge. Continue reading

Michigan Involuntary Manslaughter

Detroit Father Sent to Prison

Kevin Washington, 37-year-old father to two now-deceased sons, has been sentenced to prison for their deaths. 4-year-old Damien Washington and 1-year-old Mekhi Williams were killed in a fire that engulfed their Detroit home.

According to court records, firefighters responded to the blaze near Prairie St and Livernois Ave on December 6th of last year. But by the time they were able to get to the two children in an upstairs bedroom, it was too late. They were pronounced dead shortly thereafter at a local hospital. Continue reading

Portage First Degree Murder Trial

Andy Brown Charged With Killing Boss

The trial has begun for Andy Brown, the 37-year-old Portage man accused of murdering his boss. Brown is facing charges of first degree murder (premeditated) and felony firearm, as a result of his having allegedly shot prominent Sturgis accountant, David Locey, in his office on October 2nd, 2013.

The day before the murder, Brown and Locey had an emotional meeting concerning allegations of embezzlement against Brown. Joy Stevens, the office manager for Locey’s CPA office in Sturgis, testified at the preliminary hearing that Locey had received “a letter from an attorney in Grand Rapids stating they had problems with Andy and were thinking about pressing charges of embezzlement.” Continue reading