State Roundup

Woman accused of killing Maryland man in custody
BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) — A 40-year-old woman accused of fatally shooting a man in Baltimore County, Maryland, has been arrested in Michigan.

The Bay City Times  reports Deidra Griffin was taken into custody Monday night at a home in Bay County, Michigan. She was arraigned Tuesday on extraditable offenses including first-degree murder and firearm use in the commission of a violent crime.

Authorities accuse Griffin of killing 51-year-old Lonnie Paye Jr. of Randallstown, Maryland. Bay County Prosecutor Kurt C. Asbury says investigators found evidence believed to be linked to Paye’s death at the home where Griffin was arrested.

A judge said he would appoint Griffin an attorney to represent her on the matter of extradition. She said via video that she’s not a flight risk, but the judge did not grant bond.
An extradition hearing is expected next month.

Snyder won’t reduce sentence for man convicted of murder as teen
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder has refused to reduce the life sentence of a Grand Rapids man, despite appeals by the victim’s relatives and a judge that he be released from prison.

Saulo Montalvo was 16 and driving a getaway car when a man was killed during a robbery in Grand Rapids in 1996. He never entered the store but was convicted of murder and given an automatic no-parole sentence.

The Grand Rapids Press  reports that Snyder rejected Montalvo’s request to have his sentence commuted. The governor acted after the Michigan parole board said the request had “no merit.” The board screens all cases.

Dennis Kolenda, the judge who ordered the mandatory no-parole sentence, says the 35-year-old Montalvo deserves freedom after nearly 20 years.

Man sentenced in crash death of sheriff’s deputy
MASON, Mich. (AP) — A man convicted in the death of an Ingham County sheriff’s deputy who crashed while chasing an SUV has been sentenced to 20 to 45 years in prison.

The Lansing State Journal reports 35-year-old John Kelsey of Stockbridge on Wednesday learned his punishment. He was earlier convicted of first-degree fleeing police and driving on a suspended or revoked license.

Kelsey’s defense lawyer had argued there wasn’t video or photo evidence showing his client driving the SUV.

Authorities say an officer in an unmarked sheriff’s car began chasing the SUV Dec. 7 after Kelsey failed to stop.

They say Deputy Grant Whitaker took over as lead pursuer in his marked vehicle when he lost control and crashed near Stockbridge, about 40 miles southeast of Lansing. The SUV hasn’t been found.

Lawmakers want programs to curb  farm pollution
WILLIS, Mich. (AP) — Two members of Congress introduced legislation Tuesday that encourages states in the Great Lakes region to develop voluntary programs aimed at reducing farm pollution that causes harmful algae blooms.

Reps. Tim Walberg and Candice Miller, both Michigan Republicans, said the initiatives should be modeled after the Michigan
Agricultural Environmental Assistance Program, which helps producers cut back on fertilizer and pesticide runoff.

Growers who successfully participate, using methods such as improving manure storage and planting vegetation buffer strips between crops and streams, can get official certification and financial assistance.

Under the bill, states could apply for U.S. Department of Agriculture grants to administer and promote programs similar to the one in Michigan. Farmers would get priority consideration for conservation project funding.

“Responsible stewardship of our land and Great Lakes will help ensure the health of our economy and environment today and for generations to come,” Walberg said.

Harmful algae has been a worsening menace on portions of the Great Lakes — especially Lake Erie — for the past two decades.

High levels of a toxin formed by blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, left more than 400,000 people in Toledo, Ohio, and southeastern Michigan without safe tap water for two days last August.

Since then, Ohio has ordered farmers in the northwestern part of the state not to spread manure on frozen and rain-soaked fields and required them to get training before using commercial fertilizers. The International Joint Commission, a U.S.-Canadian agency, last year urged states in the Lake Erie basin and the Canadian province of Ontario to ban manure spreading on frozen land.
But farm groups say voluntary programs give them flexibility to choose the most effective management practices.

The Michigan Farm Bureau says more than 10,000 farmers have taken steps to enroll their land in the state program.

After 26 years, brothers sent to prison for death
WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (AP) — Two brothers convicted of murder in the slaying of a young woman in 1989 in western Michigan received long prison sentences Tuesday.

Matthew Jones got the mandatory punishment, a life sentence with no parole, for first-degree murder. Paul Jones, convicted of second-degree murder, was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison. His maximum term is 75 years, although he’ll be eligible for parole in his 70s.

The body of 18-year-old Shannon Siders of Newaygo was discovered in Manistee National Forest in 1989, three months after she disappeared. Authorities said she was sexually assaulted and killed while partying with the Jones brothers and other teens in Newaygo County, north of Grand Rapids.

Defense attorneys told jurors there was plenty of reasonable doubt, especially after 26 years.

“For your murder convictions and your sentencing today some balance may result, but nothing in this world will ever replace the hole you created by taking the life of this precious soul or the lives you have injured including your own family,” Siders’ parents, Bob and Mary Siders, said in a prepared statement before the sentences were issued.

“Your behavior ... must be met by the most severe punishments allowable by law,” they said in the statement. “However, nothing this court or the department of corrections can do will ever repair or replace what you took from this earth.”

After the sentencing, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said the case shows the value of pursuing crimes, even ones committed long ago.

“This conviction and sentencing is proof that no case is too cold for a successful prosecution of someone who robbed a young woman of her life,” Schuette said in a statement.

He said Paul Jones will spend decades behind bars, and “Matthew Jones will never have the chance to harm another young woman.”