murder

Law
12:49 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

UM Innocence Clinic & two retired cops fighting to free man convicted of double murder

Jeff Titus is currently serving two life terms. He was convicted in 2002, after a ‘cold case’ squad reopened the decade old investigation into murders of two hunters.
Credit Michigan Department of Corrections

Jeff Titus is currently serving two life sentences for a double homicide in 1990.

Two men believe Titus’ alibi that he was hunting in a different part of the state at the time the shootings took place.     The two men are the original detectives who investigated the crime.

On November 17th, 1990, Doug Estes and Jim Bennett were hunting in the Fulton State Gaming Area.  Both were shot in the back at close range.  

The shooting occurred near the property of Jeff Edward Titus.  

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Law
6:10 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Attorneys hope for new trial for Michigan man convicted of 1996 murder

Jamie Lee Peterson's attorneys say there are serious doubts about his guilt in a 1996 rape and murder in Kalkaska.
Michigan Department of Corrections

Attorneys today will ask for a new trial for a man convicted of a 1996 rape and murder in Kalkaska.

They say new evidence raises serious doubts about the man’s guilt.

Jamie Lee Peterson is serving a life sentence for the 1996 murder of Geraldine Montgomery. He did confess to the crime, but he later recanted.

Last year, authorities arrested another man after DNA evidence connected him to the crime.

Caitlin Plummer is with the Michigan Innocence Clinic. She says the limits of DNA testing at the time were used by prosecutors to sway jurors against Peterson.  

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Law
1:59 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Group calls Michigan's African-American homicide rate a public health crisis

African-Americans in Michigan are murdered at one of the highest rates in the nation. That's according to a study from the Violence Policy Center.

The Center says 31 of every 100,000 black Michiganders was a homicide victim in 2011. That's twice the national rate for blacks and seven times the rate for Americans overall.

Josh Sugarmann is the Center's executive director. He says this is part of a public health crisis in America.

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Law
3:03 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Murders in Flint down more than 20 percent this year

Credit Yumi Kimura / Wikimedia Commons

Flint has seen a drop of more than 20 percent in the number of murders this year compared to last year's all-time high of 67.

Unless there is a new murder on New Year's Eve, Flint will close 2013 with 52 homicides. That is the lowest number since 2009.

James Tolbert is Flint's chief of police. He attributed the decrease to increased patrolling, use of data to target hot spots of criminal activity, and increased arrests of those with outstanding warrants.

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Law
6:27 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

The kid or the hit man: who killed 4 people?

Davontae Sanders was a partially blind, developmentally delayed 14-year-old when he was charged with murder.

The Michigan Court of Appeals today heard the case of a 14-year-old boy convicted of four murders.

The court is considering evidence that the now 20-year-old man may be innocent.

In 2007, four people were shot in a Detroit neighborhood.

Police picked up Davontae Sanford, a partially blind, developmentally-delayed 14-year-old.

They held him for questioning without a parent or attorney present.

Sanford confessed and was given decades in prison.

Then, a convicted hit man, Vincent Smothers, said he - not Sanford - committed those murders.

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Crime
3:38 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

People in Grand Rapids working on ways to curb spike in homicide rate

HeatherHeatherHeather Creative Commons

There have been nine murders in the last thirty days in Grand Rapids. That’s almost as many as the state’s second largest city sees during an average year. But the community is working on a game plan to fight the violence.

Friday morning about a thousand people gathered at Messiah Missionary Baptist Church. They prayed and they made plans for many smaller meetings over the next 60 days.

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Politics & Government
1:58 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Local government and religious leaders in Michigan call for more federal gun control laws

Flint mayor Dayne Walling (left) listens as Lansing mayor Virg Bernero outlines changes being requested for the nation's gun laws
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Government and religious leaders from Lansing, Flint and Saginaw came together today to call for new federal gun control laws.

All three cities saw an increase in murders in 2012.

The group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, wants the federal government to require background checks for all gun sales.    It also wants a ban on assault weapons and an expansion of gun trafficking laws.

Darnell Earley is Saginaw’s city manager.   He says something must be done to stop what he calls “neighborhood warfare.”

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Law
10:39 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Grand Rapids pastor calls for end to killings

Grand Rapids, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A Grand Rapids pastor is calling on city residents to step up and play a role in reducing violence in the city.

Clifton Rhodes Junior's comments Friday came in the wake of eight killings in Grand Rapids over the past month.

At a news conference at police headquarters, Rhodes said: "Our hearts are bleeding right now."

Rhodes is the pastor at Messiah Missionary Baptist Church. He says clergy, police, business leaders and social-service leaders must work together to find solutions to the problem.

Law
4:28 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Detroit's murder rate continues to climb

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Homicides are trending up in Detroit for the second year in a row.

The city recorded a total of 411 homicides in 2012, up about 9% from the previous year. That total includes killings deemed “justifiable” by police.

Detroit mayor Dave Bing says police can only do so much combat pervasive gun violence and a lack of “respect for life.”

Bing says he’s not sure adding even “1000 more police officers” to Detroit’s ranks would help.

“There are things happening in homes, and families, in the communities, and the neighborhoods, that whether a cop is there or not, it’s not gonna stop the crime.”

Detroit’s interim police chief, Chester Logan, agrees that the lack of police presence isn’t the root problem.

“America has a problem with guns, but the epicenter seems to be here in Detroit,” said Logan, adding that taking a stand against gun violence should be “the new civil rights issue.”

More than 85% percent of Detroit’s homicides were committed with guns. There were also 1263 reported non-fatal shootings in 2012.

Both Bing and Logan note that the city’s police ranks have thinned considerably in recent years, due largely to attrition. The department had about 2700 sworn officers in 2011.

Logan declined to release current manpower numbers, saying only: “We certainly don’t want to frighten anybody, but it’s sufficient.”

Police say the uptick in homicides belies a decline in some other major crimes, including a nearly 13% drop in burglaries, and a slight decrease in aggravated assaults.

According to department  numbers, “overall city-wide crime is down 2.63% in the aggregate compared to 2011.”

Bing also vowed to hold “regular press briefings” on public safety issues in the coming year.

“Future briefings will focus on a comprehensive analysis of homicide trends in the city, case closure rates, and crime reduction strategies in the Detroit Police Department,” the mayor said.

Law
3:30 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Report: More Michigan ex-cons killing after leaving prison

A guard tower at one of the state prisons located in Jackson, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - More and more Michigan ex-cons are killing people after they leave prison, a problem that the state Department of Corrections and its employees union blame on each other.

The Detroit Free Press says 88 probationers or parolees committed 95 homicides in 2010 through Aug. 31, 2012. Ex-cons under state supervision killed 21 people in 2010, 38 in 2012 and 36 in the first eight months of 2012.

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Flint
1:49 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Flint emergency manager welcomes promised state help with violent crime problem

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager is welcoming the governor’s pledge to help with the city’s violent crime problem.  

Governor Snyder promised in Wednesday’s State of the State address to work with Flint, Detroit, Saginaw and Pontiac to address their nationally ranked crime problems. The governor will lay out his plan in March.  

“I’ve asked my police chief and others in our community who are criminal justice professionals to be thinking about how we can best work with the state," says Mike Brown, Flint’s emergency manager.   

Flint’s crime rate has soared as budget deficits have forced city leaders to lay off police officers in recent years.   

Flint police have investigated five murders in the past week. The city set a record for murders in 2010. After peaking at 66 murders in 2010, Flint recorded 55 homicides in 2011, with a sharp decline in the number of murders in the second half of the year.

Crime
9:12 pm
Fri September 23, 2011

Michigan State Police stop criminal plot against state lawmaker

State Rep. Barb Byrum, see here at her swearing in ceremony in 2009, with her son Blake.
(courtesy Barb Byrum's facebook page)

A state prisons spokesman says a potential kidnapping or murder-for-hire threat from an inmate targeting a Michigan state lawmaker has been detected and stopped.

Authorities said Friday that the case remains under investigation and no charges have been filed. They say the plot was being developed by a prisoner in a state correctional facility who has since been isolated from other prisoners. It wasn't immediately known why the prisoner was targeting the lawmaker.

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May 3rd Election
12:49 am
Wed May 4, 2011

Flint voters split on public safety millages

Flint mayor Dayne Walling (left) and city public safty director Alvern Lock listen as the results of Tuesday's voting slowly comes in last night.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Voters in Flint sent a mixed message on public safety on Tuesday. 

 Mayor Dayne Walling was glad to see voters renew a millage that pays for more than a dozen police officers.  

 “I’m very pleased to see the voters have overwhelmingly supported the renewal of our police force.   The budget that was proposed to the city council…every dollar that we projected in that budget will now be able to be expected.”

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Flint
8:38 am
Wed April 13, 2011

Flint Mayor: The killings and criminals must be stopped

Flint Public Safety Director Alvern Lock (left) addresses the news media while Mayor Dayne Walling looks on
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint police believe there may be some link between the city’s more than 20 recent homicides.  And now, city officials are asking for the public’s help. Flint Mayor Dayne Walling set the tone at a news conference Tuesday about the recent surge of murders in his city by saying, "the killings and criminals must be stopped."

Flint’s murder rate is on pace to set a record. Last year, Flint recorded 66 murders, which was a record. The city already has more than 20 homicides this year. 

Flint Public Safety Director Alvern Lock expresses some frustration at the rising violence. 

“You know the only way we could stop a lot of these from happening is if we were standing on the corner when they occur.”

Lock says they have suspects or people charged in 14 of the 21 murders in Flint this year. He says police suspect a connection in some of the cases, but they can’t prove that connection right now. 

Lock denies that cuts to Flint’s police department have played a role in the increase in the city’s increase homicide rate. The city has eliminated more than 100 positions in the police department since 2008.

Crime
3:24 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Report: Flint homicides spread like an epidemic

Flint broke a homocide record last year. The city has faced hard times since the decline of the auto industry. Here the remains of Buick City in Flint, Michigan.
blueskiesfalling wikimedia commons

The Center for Homicide Research published a report on homicides in Flint. It concluded that Flint passed its previous record of 61 homicides (set in 1986) "in large part to a process of contagion."

In other words, once a homicide occurs, it can spark others, spreading like a disease.

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Flint Struggles with Violent Crime
12:59 pm
Mon December 20, 2010

Flint mayor to ask for more tax money to fund police

Flint Public Safety Director Alvern Lock (left) addresses a news conference on the city's murder rate. Mayor Dayne Walling listens
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

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Crime
1:58 pm
Mon December 13, 2010

Flint breaks 25-year-old murder record

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Just a day after tying a record set in 1986, Flint recorded its 62nd homicide of the year. The body of a man was found slumped over in a car parked on a city street.

At a news conference this morning, before the latest murder victim was found, Flint Mayor Dayne Walling blamed the spike in violence in his city on the loss of jobs.

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