State Roundup

Muskegon
Man charged in 2011 dog dragging death

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - Officials in Michigan say they've arrested a man for allegedly dragging a golden retriever behind a truck in Oceana County three years ago.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports Benzie County Sheriff's Office officials found 34-year-old Luke Morgan over the weekend. He's been wanted on a warrant signed in 2011.

He was brought back to Oceana County and arraigned Monday afternoon on two counts of animal cruelty and one count of driving with a suspended license. He was released on $5,000 bond, according to the Oceana County sheriff's office, which didn't know if he had an attorney.

Authorities say a woman called them April 2011 to report a trail of blood on a rural road in Golden Township. They followed the trial for three miles and found the dog buried.

Kalkaska
Conviction thrown out in murder of elderly woman

KALKASKA, Mich. (AP) - A northern Michigan judge has thrown out a conviction in the rape and murder of a 68-year-old woman in 1996.

Kalkaska County Judge Janet Allen was influenced by DNA tests that weren't available at trial in 1998. She says tests on clothing worn by Geraldine Montgomery rule out Jamie Peterson as the attacker.

The judge says the tests qualify as newly discovered evidence under Michigan law. She granted Peterson's request for a new trial in an order signed last Thursday.

Peterson made incriminating statements to police, but his lawyers say it was a false confession. He's represented by the University of Michigan law school's Innocence Clinic.

A message seeking comment was left for the prosecutor Monday.

The DNA has been linked to another man, Jason Ryan, who is awaiting trial.

Independence Township
Man critically hurt by teen at Hank Williams concert

INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Police say a Detroit-area man was critically injured during a confrontation with a teenager at a Hank Williams Jr. concert.

According to the Oakland County sheriff's office, the 15-year-old boy shoved the 55-year-old Westland man on DTE Energy Music Theatre's concourse Sunday night.

The unnamed victim fell to the ground, striking his head on concrete, causing excessive bleeding. He's in critical condition at an area hospital.

The Wayne teen has been released pending the completion of an investigation into the incident. He was at the concert with his father.

Detroit
Woman guilty of manslaughter in vehicular crash

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit-area woman authorities say intentionally crashed her car into another vehicle, causing the death of the other driver, has been convicted of manslaughter.

A Wayne County Circuit Court jury last week also found Ponya Lee guilty of reckless driving causing death and malicious destruction of property.

Patricia Nwaneri was killed in the February crash. Police say an angry Lee told someone over the phone she was going to wreck her car. They say Lee ignored a traffic light and struck Nwaneri's vehicle in Westland.

The 55-year-old Ypsilanti woman died at a hospital. The Ann Arbor News says she was a mother of four who was headed to her nursing job.

Lee is 28 and from Westland. She's to be sentenced later this month.

Kalamazoo
New focus on deaths of hu­n­ters some 25 years ago

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - The Innocence Clinic at University of Michigan law school is asking a judge to reopen the case of two hunters killed in Kalamazoo County nearly 25 years ago.

Clinic director David Moran claims Jeff Titus was wrongly charged and convicted.

Moran has affidavits from investigators who ruled out Titus as a suspect in the 1990 slayings. But Titus' defense lawyer didn't know that at trial more than a decade later. The detectives were never called as witnesses.

Doug Estes and Jim Bennett were shot in 1990 while in the Fulton State Game Area. Titus wasn't charged until 2001.

There were no witnesses to the shooting, but trial witnesses said Titus had a history of aggressively confronting people who entered his property. He's serving a life sentence for first-degree murder.

 

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