Manhunt underway in Fox Lake after officer fatally shot

A manhunt is underway in far north suburban Fox Lake for three men after a police officer was fatally shot Tuesday morning.

Police said the suspects – described as two white males and one black male – should be considered armed and dangerous.

Lake County Sheriff’s Dept. Det. Chris Covelli said a Fox Lake police officer was shot while responding to a call of three suspicious people near Route 12 and Sayton Rd around 7:52 a.m.

After communication was lost with the officer, his backup arrived on the scene to find him injured with a gunshot wound, Det. Covelli said. A law enforcement source says the police officer has died.

“At this time, we’re asking all area residents to remain inside. Report any suspicious activity, any suspicious people, by dialing 911 as we still have three offenders at large,” Det. Covelli said.

Local authorities were seen searching a wooded area near the scene on foot and by helicopter for several hours. Canine units were brought in from various jurisdictions, including McHenry County. FBI agents and U.S. Marshals are also assisting in the search, according to spokespersons for both agencies.

Rollins Road is closed from Route 59 to Grand Avenue. Investigators also blocked off part of the frontage road leading to U.S. 12.

Metra officials said no trains on the Milwaukee District – North Line are moving beyond Long Lake. Outbound passengers will be bussed to Ingleside and Fox Lake stations until further notice. Inbound trains will originate at Long Lake, Metra said.

Grant Community High School is on hard lockdown. Superintendent Christy Sefcik said the school went on lockdown around 8:30 a.m. She said all students and staff are being kept away from exterior glass and out of view.

The Facebook pages for Gavin School District and St. Bede School in Ingleside said the schools are on soft lockdown.

If you are in need of legal advice, please call The Dailey Law Firm. To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.

DNA leads to arrest in 1988 rape-murder of widow, 88

It’s been nearly 30 years since Elnora Barrager was found dead in her Pontiac home as a result of a rape and beating that police believe brought on a heart attack.rapist1988

The 88-year-old widow and retired seamstress lived alone and had no known enemies.

Now investigators believe they have the man behind bars who allegedly terrified Barrager to death, thanks to a DNA match and a tenacious team of detectives at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office working on cold cases.

Billy Joe Bennett, 55, who sometimes went by the alias Mark Eugene Holsworth, is in the Oakland County Jail, charged with first-degree felony murder and first-degree sexual assault in Barrager’s death. His next court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday in Oakland County Court. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

Investigators believe Bennett intended to burglarize Barrager’s home on or about April 2, 1988, and kicked in the back door, but upon discovering her alone, beat her and sexually assaulted her. An autopsy showed she died of a heart attack.

Oakland County investigators began re-examining Barrager’s death in May and sent DNA samples to the Michigan State Police. Bennett was on parole at the time after serving prison time for retail fraud.

His DNA matched the DNA preserved from the Barrager crime scene and sheriff’s detectives arrested him June 16. The DNA and additional evidence prompted the murder and rape charges, Chief Assistant prosecutor Paul Walton said Friday.

“I was shocked,” said her grandson, Michael Barrager of Oxford, when police called to tell him. “At first I thought is somebody pulling my leg. I mean there are so many scams out there.”

The family feels some relief, but is awaiting the trial. “Obviously there will be some satisfaction when the conviction comes down,” he said. And he praised the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and Oakland County prosecutors.

“It’s been almost 30 years,” the grandson said, “And they never stopped searching.”

Friday, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard praised his investigators as well.

“I am extremely proud of our Pontiac Substation Detective Bureau for bringing closure to this horrific case that occurred over two decades ago,” said Bouchard in a statement. “May the family of Elnora Barrager find peace in knowing this heinous criminal is behind bars.”

Bennett’s attorney, Richard Taylor, could not be immediately reached for comment.

DNA is increasingly used by police to solve cold cases. In July, a Wayne County jury convicted Nosakhare Onumonu, a four-time convicted felon on the verge of paroling out of prison, of first-degree murder in the 1999 beating death of Plymouth resident Helen Klocek, 84. Among the evidence, a glove found in her abandoned car with Onumonu’s DNA on it.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a crime, please contact The Dailey Law Firm. The experienced attorneys at The Dailey Law Firm will go above and beyond to help you and your loved one. To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.

Street artist Shepard Fairey due in court today

Testimony is expected to begin this morning in the preliminary examination for street artist Shepard Fairey, who is accused of illegally tagging properties while in Detroit doing commissioned work for businessman Dan Gilbert.

635724532108364258-Shepard-Fairey-071415Fairey, 45, faces two felony counts of malicious destruction of a building between $1,000 and $20,000.

The Los Angeles-based artist is accused of sticking posters in several areas with a glue difficult to remove while he was in Detroit in May.

During a brief hearing last week, Megan Moslimani, assistant corporation counsel for Detroit, gave the addresses of nine buildings in the city, including four on East Jefferson, and said Fairey did not have permission from property owners to tag, deface or glue any objects to the properties.

Related:Why Detroit targeted famed graffiti artist Shepard Fairey

Moslimani, the prosecutor on the case, has said there was more than $30,000 is damage.

Bradley Friedman, Fairey’s attorney, said last week: “Our expectation is that Mr. Fairey will be vindicated.”

Related:A street art culture clash as graffiti goes mainstream

Fairey was in Detroit in May to paint an 18-story mural on One Campus Martius, formerly the Compuware Building, for Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services, which was authorized.

Some of Fairey’s well-known works include his signature Andre the Giant pieces and the “Hope” campaign poster for President Barack Obama.

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A Shepard Fairey mural commissioned by Dan Gilbert

If you are in need of legal advice, please call The Dailey Law Firm. To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.

Gamrat wants voters, not panel, to decide her fate

State Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, sat in a sprawling hearing room at the state Capitol Tuesday as a special select committee convened for the first time to decide her fate, along with that of Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer.

The committee met, set their rules and adjourned within minutes, setting up a process that could lead to the expulsion, censure or no action at all against Courser and Gamrat, who have been caught up in a sex scandal and attempt to cover it up.

“I’m here because I want my colleagues to know that I want to be part of the solution moving forward so we can get this taken care of and get back to the business of the people of Michigan,” Gamrat told a gaggle of reporters after the committee adjourned. “It’s not easy, trying to understand the process letter and the allegations that have been brought against me better so I can help be part of the solution.”

Her East Lansing attorney, Mike Nichols, said Gamrat wants to resolve the issue short of expulsion.

“She’s thinking about all of her options. We’re exploring all the options, short of an expulsion, to resolve this,” Nichols said.

The committee got hefty black binders that contained the full report, which includes hundreds of pages and is expected to include five hours of the transcripts of audio recordings a former Courser staffer taped as evidence that the two lawmakers were scheming to cover up their extra marital affair.

The House Business Office report concluded that Courser and Gamrat, are guilty of misconduct in office through “deceptive, deceitful and outright dishonest” actions.

The scathing report says Courser and Gamrat misused public resources in attempting to cover up their affair and lied to the House Business Office during the investigation. They also said that the pair used taxpayer resources to bolster their political operations, which is a violation of House rules.

Neither representative is a credible witness and both “misrepresented themselves on several occasions during their testimony to the business office,” the report said. The report said Gamrat wasn’t telling the truth when she called a news conference and said she had no role in the bogus e-mail Courser sent out.

“From what I’ve read, I don’t know if the characterizations are the same that I would make,” Nichols said.

State Rep. Ed McBroom, a Republican and dairy farmer from the Upper Peninsula town of Vulcan, is chairing the special committee and said he expects to schedule more hearings next week and for the panel to wrap up their work with a recommendation to the full House of Representatives in the next two weeks. After their work is complete, the entire report will be released to the public, he said.todd-courser-cindy-gamratjpg-e6dcc9e14cf08d3d

“This is a really solemn, sober occasion that has to be dealt with. The people of the state have explicitly given us, the House of Representatives, the authority to police ourselves,” he said. “In order to maintain faith with the people of Michigan, we have this serious obligation. This isn’t about politics. It’s about the integrity of the institution.”

But Gamrat said she thinks it’s up to the voters in her southwest Michigan district to decide if she’s fit to continue serving in the Legislature.

“I still believe that it’s important to take responsibility for your actions and not be held responsible for the actions of others. And I think that’s for my voters to decide,” she said. “I still get support letters every day in the mail telling me not to resign. I’m weighing everything out and there’s a lot to consider. It’s a big decision. I’m here to weigh it all out and take it day by day, but ultimately, I think it’s for my voters to decide.”

Courser was not at the hearing Tuesday, but he responded to the report in an e-mail and questioned whether he would be able to get a fair hearing by the Republican leadership, which he feels has been poised to get him out of office because of his conservative voting record.

“As far as fairness, it’s really unfortunate for him to make those statements before we’ve even convened,” McBroom said. “We will operate in the utmost of fairness. I won’t tolerate anything less.”

The scandal swirling around Courser and Gamrat had been rumored for months, but burst onto the public scene in early August when audio recordings revealed that Courser had asked his staff to send an anonymous fake e-mail that he had written, saying he was addicted to drugs and pornography and paid for sex with men outside a Lansing bar. His staff refused to participate in the attempt to make it appear that Courser was the victim of a smear campaign and to downplay the affair he was having with Gamrat. But the e-mail still was widely circulated around Lansing.

If you are in need of legal advice, please call The Dailey Law Firm. To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.

Man to be charged after reportedly stabbing three of his relatives, killing two in Sterling Heights

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) – A 20-year-old man is expected to be arraigned today after allegedly stabbing his 79-year-old grandfather and 44-year-old uncle to death in Sterling Heights. The grandmother was also stabbed and is in critical condition.

It happened around 1 a.m. Monday in the 39000 block of Lea Court.

We’re told the man’s grandfather and grandmother had lived in the house for 40 years. According to police, he had been living with his grandparents for two weeks, and had come to Michigan from North Carolina.

Police say the grandpa woke up and saw the man attacking his 71-year-old grandmother, strangling her. When he intervened, the man grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed him to death. Then, the man’s uncle tried to intervene, and he was also stabbed to death.

His grandmother was able to lock herself in another room and call 911.

The suspect has no prior criminal convictions and is believed to be the only suspect in the case.

There was no evidence that drugs or alcohol were involved.

Right now, police are trying to track down the suspect’s mother to tell her what happened. She is out of state and has no idea her son is suspected of killing her dad, brother and stabbing her mom.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a crime, please contact The Dailey Law Firm. The experienced attorneys at The Dailey Law Firm will go above and beyond to help you and your loved one. To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.

List reveals most stolen vehicles of 2015

highwayThe National Insurance Crime Bureau reported today that the 10 most stolen vehicles last year in Michigan and the United States were pickups, sedans and a minivan — everyday vehicles used by families across America.

In Michigan, the 2007 small Chevrolet pickup topped the list with 916 thefts, followed by the 2004 Chevrolet Impala with 803 thefts, and 2002 Dodge Caravan, a minivan, with 803. The 2014 Ford Fusion was next, with 730 thefts, the full-size 2004 GMC Pickup with 528, the 2014 Ford Taurus with 513, the 2006 full-size Ford Pickup with 510, the 2000 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee with 473, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu with 460, and the 2014 Dodge Charger with 450.

Nationally, the list did not track vehicles by year, but it was topped by the Honda Accord and Civic, with 51,290 and 43,936 thefts, respectively, the full-size Ford pickup with 28,680, full-size Chevy pickup with 23,196, Toyota Camery with 14,605, full-size Dodge pickup with 11,075, Dodge Caravan with 10,483, Nissan Altima with 9,109, Acura Integra with 6,902, and Nissan Maxima with 6,586.

“If you see your vehicle is on the list, take some extra precautions,” said Terri Miller, executive director of Help Eliminate Auto Thefts, a Michigan nonprofit group that seeks to recover stolen cars.

Miller said that strategies to deter thefts — extra locks and security systems, parking in a garage, and not leaving valuables in sight — work, and she urged urged car owners to use them.

The theft data also show that despite conventional wisdom, targeted vehicles often aren’t necessarily the most valuable, but those in high demand.

In some cases, Miller said, thieves will target minivans because they can take the seats out and then use them to steal other things.

And while theft deterrent devices work, she said, in some cases criminals will steal cars by breaking the transmissions and push them up onto a flatbed truck and drive away.

Miller’s simplest theft deterrent tip:

“If you have a garage, use it,” she said. “We tend to put our junk in a garage and park our valuable vehicles outside.”

Some other trends also emerged:

Popular vehicle models were popular among thieves. One of the biggest influences on which cars are stolen is the demand for them — and their parts — in the market, experts say.

In Michigan, domestic automakers were stolen more often than nationwide. That’s because, for the most part, folks in the Midwest buy — and want — domestic brands.

And insurance companies tend to charge higher insurance premiums for vehicle models that are more frequently stolen.

If you are in need of some legal advice call The Dailey Law Firm today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469

Sterling Heights police: 3 family members stabbed, 2 fatally, at home

police_20100630132727_640_480A 20-year-old man is suspected of fatally stabbing his 44-year-old uncle and 79-year-old grandfather. His 71-year-old grandmother also suffered stab wounds.

Police say the grandmother called 911 to report her grandson was out of control and assaulting them in their home. The 20-year-old had been living with his uncle and grandparents for about two weeks since moving from North Carolina, police said.

He is in police custody. Police said he was waiting at the home when officers arrived. He told them he was involved. He is expected to be arraigned on charges Tuesday.

Police found the 79-year-old man dead at the home from stab wounds. The 44-year-old man was taken to Henry Ford Macomb Hospital with stabs wounds, where he later died.

The 71-year-old woman remains at the hospital. Her condition is not known at this time, but she is stable.

Police say the 20-year-old has no criminal history. A motive is not clear at this time.

Neighbors who knew the family said they were nice people who lived for their grandchildren.

Sterling Heights police are conducting a homicide investigation.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a crime, please contact The Dailey Law Firm. The experienced attorneys at The Dailey Law Firm will go above and beyond to help you and your loved one. To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.

 

New charge against teen in deadly Stony Creek crash

An additional criminal charge has been authorized against one of two survivors of a car crash at Stony Creek Metropark in which three teens were killed.

Gregory Bobchick, 17, was charged Thursday with allowing an intoxicated person to operate a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, in 42-1 District Court in Romeo, according to the court. A motion hearing is set for Sept. 10.

Bobchick and Joseph Narra, 18, both of Shelby Township, are charged with being minors in possession of alcohol, also a misdemeanor, in the same court.

They were seriously hurt in the May 8 crash in which a black Jaguar traveling at 72-82 m.p.h. crashed into a guardrail and rolled five times, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office previously reported.

Manolios and Emanuel (Manny) Malaj, both 17 and of Sterling Heights, and Michael Wells, 17, of Macomb Township — all athletes in Utica Community Schools — were killed.

A cousin of Bobchick’s mother owned the car, but the sheriff’s office was informed that Bobchick’s family was making payments on it, and that Bobchick was the primary driver.

Sheriff Anthony Wickersham previously said that he did not know why Manolios was driving, but investigators said it’s believed that Manolios pressured Bobchick to drive the car.

Bobchick was in the front passenger seat and was wearing a seatbelt, Wickersham had said.

Bobchick also has a separate minor-in-possession charge in 41-A District Court in Shelby Township. He received the citation after an incident July 4 at his home on Coventry Lane. He registered 0.061% on a preliminary breath test, according to the citation. He has a pretrial in that court Sept. 16.

A message was left for Bobchick’s attorney at his law office.

If you are in need of legal advice, please call The Dailey Law Firm. To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.

Woman held without bond in fatal bus stabbing

A woman accused of fatally stabbing a 50-year-old bus passenger in Detroit is being held without bond.

Tiffanie Edwards, 29, of Detroit was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Charla Williams, also from Detroit. She was arraigned via a video connection in 36th District Court today.

A plea of not guilty was entered in the case, according to court records. The first-degree murder charge requires life in prison if convicted.

Police said Williams, who had a walker, was trying to get off a Detroit Department of Transportation bus on Detroit’s west side Wednesday and may have accidentally bumped or nudged Edwards, who was also trying to get off the bus.

It provoked Edwards to commit the “heinous” crime, Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said.

buskiller3Williams was repeatedly stabbed, including in the face, and was pronounced dead at a hospital, authorities said.

A spokesman for the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office said she died of multiple sharp force injuries and her death was ruled a homicide.

Authorities have said the two women were involved in an argument before the stabbing. Edwards took off after the stabbing, and turned herself in Thursday afternoon with her attorney, Kareem Johnson.

Johnson said his client didn’t get on that bus looking for trouble, didn’t start the argument, didn’t escalate it and had “every right to defend herself on that bus.”

“She was attacked by a woman, and she had to defend herself,” he said.

Johnson said nobody intervened to help until the very end. He said his client was struck with a metal weapon first.

Police said there were no other weapons used.

Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, declined to comment on specifics in the case and said evidence will be presented in court.

Johnson said he plans to ask for bond at the next court hearing for Williams. She has a probable cause conference scheduled on Sept. 4.

According to online court documents, Edwards has been pleaded no contest to a charge of assault in 2012. That same year, in a separate case, she was found guilty of assaulting a police officer.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a crime, please contact The Dailey Law Firm. The experienced attorneys at The Dailey Law Firm will go above and beyond to help you and your loved one. To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.

 

Report expected to detail allegations against Michigan Reps. Todd Courser, Cindy Gamrat

LANSING, MI — The non-partisan House Business Office is expected on Monday to detail allegations of “misconduct and the misuse of taxpayer resources” by state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.todd-courser-cindy-gamratjpg-e6dcc9e14cf08d3d

Director Tim Bowlin and Speaker Kevin Cotter announced findings of the House Business Office probe last week but sent the report to outside attorneys for review before release.

The public report is likely to include an outline of alleged wrongdoing by the freshman lawmakers and evidence related to each claim.

Cotter ordered the investigation after a former House staffer released audio recordings he had made of Courser, R-Lapeer, plotting to cover up his extra-marital affair with Gamrat, R-Plainwell.

In an apparent attempt to discredit any real revelation, Courser sent out a fake email accusing himself of doing drugs and paying for sex with a male prostitute. The misdirection could help “inoculate the herd,” he told his staffer at the time.

Courser has since said he sent the email while under intense pressure from someone sending anonymous text messages threatening to expose the affair if he did not resign. He has taken his “blackmail” claims to the Michigan State Police.

As MLive reported last week, the phone number used to send the texts has been linked to multiple names, including Courser’s, suggesting an intentional effort to mislead by the actual owner.

Courser and Gamrat, tea party favorites and avowed social conservatives, had shared office staff and resources since taking office in January despite representing districts on opposite sides of the state.

Gamrat has denied knowledge of the cover-up email, but Courser took a call from someone he identified as Gamrat during the May 19 meeting with his aide, and both lawmakers allegedly met with the staffer two days later in her Lansing office.

Sources familiar with the investigation have told MLive that the probe also looked at whether the lawmakers used state resources for campaign activities. Gamrat ran for an open Republican National Committeewoman post earlier this year, and Courser had considered a run for Congress.

While the House Business Office had hoped to release its report by the end of last week, Cotter spokesman Gideon D’Assandro said Friday afternoon that Monday was a more realistic timeframe.

Bowlin, in announcing the overarching findings last week, said review by outside counsel “is a normal process to protect the privacy and confidentiality of affected individuals and ensure compliance with Human Resources regulations.”

Some Democrats, including state Party Chairman Brandon Dillon and Minority Leader Tim Greimel, have questioned the review process and called on Attorney General Bill Schuette to launch his own investigation.

“There are some very serious allegations involved here, allegations of a criminal nature, and there needs to be a law enforcement investigation of what occurred,” Greimel said Friday during an appearance on WKAR’s Current State.

Findings from the House Business Office probe may inform the work of a new special House committee that has been formed to consider whether Courser and Gamrat are fit to remain in office. The panel could consider expelling the lawmakers, a rare move that could involve public hearings and require a 2/3 majority vote in the full House.

Courser and Gamrat, who have so far resisted calls to resign, have both apologized for their conduct but denied any misuse of taxpayer resources.

If you are in need of legal advice, please call The Dailey Law Firm. To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.