State Roundup

Mount Pleasant: Police say man tried to have girl, 2 others killed

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) -- A 50-year-old mid- Michigan man convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a young teen has been charged with devising a murder-for-hire plot aimed at killing the victim and two of her relatives.

Gratiot County Prosecutor Keith Kushion tells the Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant that a recorded Dec. 11 conversation confirmed that Dennis McGillis of Alma offered to pay a man less than $6,000 to kill all three people because "he blamed them for his conviction."

McGillis pleaded no contest to the CSC charge and was sentenced Dec. 20 to five to 15 years in prison. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as such for sentencing.

Police did not immediately know if McGillis had a lawyer.

A Jan. 14 preliminary exam is scheduled.

Benton Harbor: Man gets 2 life sentences, more for crime spree

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) -- A judge has sentenced a man to two life sentences plus more time for 20 counts stemming from a string of gunpoint kidnappings and assaults that terrorized Benton Harbor.

Berrien County Trial Court Judge Charles LaSata sentenced 33-year-old Terrance Dawson of Benton Township on Monday to two life sentences for rape convictions and 50-year sentences on five kidnapping charges.

LaSata told Dawson the crimes were "traumatized an entire community" last summer. He says many people will sleep more soundly knowing that Dawson will be imprisoned a long time.

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Michael Sepic told The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph that Dawson will spend two years in prison on 10 firearms-related offenses before starting the other sentences.

Dawson claimed during his bench trial last month he did not commit the crimes.

Wayne Township: Boy, 5, wanders off, dies in icy Cass County lake

WAYNE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- Southwestern Michigan authorities say a 5-year-boy died after wandering off while walking home and falling into an icy lake.

Cass County Sheriff Joseph M. Underwood says it happened Tuesday evening in Big Twin Lake in Wayne Township. It's about five miles northeast of Dowagiac.

Underwood identifies the victim as Gabriel Mahlar.

According to the sheriff, Gabriel was walking home from a neighbor's house when he wandered off in the direction of the lake.

Underwood says family members saw tracks leading to the lake and called 911. Rescuers pulled Gabriel from the water and rushed him to Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead.

Lansing: Snyder separates DEQ and DNR

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Gov. Rick Snyder has issued an executive order putting oversight of the state's natural resources and environmental quality into two departments instead of one.

The executive order is Snyder's first since he took office Saturday. It will take effect March 13.

Gov. John Engler separated the natural resources and environmental quality functions into different agencies in 1995, but Gov. Jennifer Granholm rejoined them in 2009 in a cost-saving move.

Snyder now says the job would best be handled by two agencies.

The Office of the Great Lakes under director Patricia Birkholz will move to the Department of Environmental Quality under the executive order.

Dan Wyant will head the Department of Environmental Quality, and Rodney Stokes will head the Department of Natural Resources.

Saginaw: 5 arraigned in Mich. Christmas store attack

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) -- A 17-year-old boy and four young men have been arraigned on felony charges over a Christmas Day vandalism spree at a popular Christmas-themed store in mid-Michigan.

The five are charged with malicious destruction of property and conspiracy in connection with the damage to 75 displays outside Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth.

The suspects are 17-year-old Caleb Quintanilla, 20-year-old Samuel Quintanilla, 19-year-old Ryan Buckler, 21-year-old Nickolas Bright and 20-year-old Branden Dean. All are from Genesee County's Genesee Township.

The Saginaw News reports District Judge M.T. Thompson on Tuesday ordered the suspects to remain free on the $40,000 bonds they posted last week and appear for a Jan. 14 pre-hearing conference.

Defense attorneys say the five had no prior criminal history.

Bronner's chief executive Wayne Bronner says damage is estimated at $50,000.

Lansing: Jobless rate declines in state and most regions

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- The state says the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate is down in 14 of the state's 17 major regional labor markets, with the statewide rate down 0.7 percentage points to 11.3 percent in the latest monthly report.

The Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth released the November figures Tuesday.

It says regional rates ranged from a low of 7.2 percent in the Ann Arbor region to a high of 14.6 percent in Northeast Lower Michigan.

The state's seasonally adjusted jobless rate for November announced earlier was 12.4 percent, tied for second-highest in the nation with California and behind only Nevada.

A monthly survey of employers indicates that seasonally unadjusted payroll jobs in Michigan fell by 20,000 in October to 3.88 million.

Detroit: Abdul-Jabbar to give King tribute keynote address

DETROIT (AP) -- Basketball legend and Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will give the keynote address at Wayne State University's annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Detroit.

The event will be held Jan. 18 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Max M. Fisher Music Center.

Proceeds will support Adopt-a-Classroom community partnerships.

Abdul-Jabbar is considered one of the greatest to ever play professional and college basketball. He led UCLA to three NCAA titles and won six NBA championships with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers.

He scored more than 38,000 points in a 20-year NBA career.

The NCAA placed him among the top 100 scholar-athletes of the century.

Abdul-Jabbar's Skyhook Foundation combines sports and education programs in mentoring young people from underserved communities.

Published: Thu, Jan 6, 2011

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