Charlevoix Man Charged with Attempted Murder

This morning, Steve A. Martin, 63, of Charlevoix, was charged with Assault with Intent to Murder and Assaulting, Resisting and Obstructing a Police Officer in connection with an incident that occurred in Charlevoix County on October 21, 2016.

According to an affidavit filed in the matter, at approximately 7:35 p.m. Deputy Nathan Kaminski initiated a traffic stop on another vehicle in Hayes Township. Martin arrived at the scene in his truck, a 1998 Chevrolet.

The suspect in the traffic stop resisted and struggled with Kaminski and another officer at the scene. Kaminski used his taser on the subject at which time, Martin “floored it” in his truck, according to an eyewitness at the scene, drove in the direction of the officers “really quick” and “almost hit the male officer.”

Kaminski fired three times at the vehicle, striking Martin, who stopped the vehicle immediately. According to the eyewitness, the officer fired “in self-defense.”

Martin was twice convicted previously of attempted resisting and obstructing police officers, both in the 90th District Court in Charlevoix.

Assault with intent to murder is a felony carrying a maximum penalty of life in prison. Assaulting, resisting and obstructing a police officer is a felony with a maximum of two years in prison. Due to his two prior convictions of attempted felonies, Martin is subject to enhanced sentencing if convicted.

Martin was arrested this morning and will be arraigned in the 90th District Court at a date and time to be determined.

The charges against Martin are mere allegations at this point and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

“The information we received thus far gives probable cause to arrest Mr. Martin but the investigation by the Michigan State Police is continuing at this time,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said.

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Man Convicted of Defrauding Elderly Victim

This afternoon a Charlevoix County jury deliberated for one hour before finding Frederick William Cords Jr., 48, of Central Lake, guilty as charged of defrauding a vulnerable adult of $50,000 or more but less than $100,000.

The crime carries with it a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, however, Cords will be sentenced as a habitual offender, fourth offense, which increases the maximum penalty to life in prison.

The case was prosecuted by Charlevoix County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mark Muniak.

Cords was previously convicted of felonies larceny in a building, writing a check on a closed account and uttering and publishing.

Following the jury’s verdict, Judge Roy C. Hayes III revoked Cords’ bond and remanded him to the Charlevoix County jail where he will be held pending his sentencing on October 28, 2016.

Testimony in the case showed that Cords was investigated for his dealings with an 86-year old Marion Township man. Bank records showed that from September 2012 through June 2014 Cords received over $80,000 from the man in cash, checks and through a car loan the man took out on behalf of Cords.

The Adult Protective Services division of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services investigated the matter as did the Michigan State Police.

In his closing argument, Muniak described Cords as a predator who sought out a weak and vulnerable victim, became involved in his life and then manipulated him for money, including late night visits to the man’s house where he would pound on the door or window until the man would answer and give him his ATM card.

“This was a situation where a team effort resulted in the protection of this man and the prosecution of the victim,” Muniak said. “Savanah Cool of DHS and Trooper Jim Armstrong of the State Police did a quality investigation which not only stopped the victimization but also led to consequences on the part of the defendant.”

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Saginaw Man Sentenced to Prison


Paul Andrew Deshone, 30, of Saginaw was sentenced to 17 to 48 months in prison for possession of morphine arising out of an arrest near the city ballfields in East Jordan on May 13, 2016.

Deshone was initially charged with possession with intent to deliver morphine and was bound over to circuit court following a preliminary examination in district court on June 7, 2016. He was on parole at the time of the offense.

An officer with the Joint Operational Law Enforcement (“JOLT”) drug team testified that JOLT was acting on a tip in the area when they witnessed what appeared to be two drug transactions. Police made contact with Deshone who was the driver in a vehicle containing another parolee and a third person on bond related to a drug offense.

Deshone had a prescription pill bottle containing 24 pills from the original 60 pills that had been dispensed to his mother earlier that morning in Saginaw. He also had $365 in cash on his person.

Circuit Judge Roy C. Hayes III said that a reasonable inference from these facts was that Deshone traveled to northern Michigan to traffic narcotics. Deshone was previously convicted of Home Invasion, Second Degree and Furnishing Contraband to a Prisoner in Prison and served approximately ten years in prison.

“While we did not have direct evidence that the defendant was here to sell drugs, his story did not add up and he and his mother concocted a easily disproven story for police,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said.

“This was an example of excellent police work by JOLT, our county drug enforcement team. Hopefully these individuals and their friends get the message not to travel to our area to sell their drugs.”

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We Can Do More to Educate About Sexual Conduct and Consent

Recently a case in a neighboring county where I was appointed special prosecutor was in the news and I was criticized by some who received their information from the internet and and social media. The young woman who was assaulted and her family stopped in just yesterday to again thank me and my office for all we did in the case to support her.

But I understand the criticism. We have a culture that is too accepting of sexual assault and shows a “boys will be boys” attitude. That’s not what I believe happened in my case nor does the victim, but I’m glad that people are at least paying attention.

In the three and a half years that I have been prosecutor, we’ve talked to over 700 students in the county about sexual assault and consent. Through a grant obtained by our victim advocate, Libby Mikulski, we purchased the rights to the acclaimed film The Hunting Ground and hosted a free community screening.

Next year we hope to have all high schools in Charlevoix County show the high school version of The Hunting Ground not just so our students can be educated about sexual assault, but so that we can get them talking about it – and how to stop it.

The Petoskey News-Review published an editorial that points out that I did not seek the maximum penalty for the young man in the case described above. As I told the PNR, that is fair for people to question. I know all the facts of the case and the victim, her family and I am content with what happened. Not happy – there is nothing we can do to take away what happened to her.

Most of all, I’m happy that the PNR is talking about the problem of sexual assault and if I have to take a few lumps to make that happen, so be it.

The editorial is printed below, copied from

Many of us will agree — sexual assault is one of society’s worst crimes.

So awful is it, maybe we don’t talk about it enough.

The nation was reminded of this in early June when former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, 20, was sentenced by a California judge to spend six months in county jail, serve three years of probation and register as a sex offender after a jury in March found him guilty of three felony sexual assault-related charges.

Turner was convicted of the crimes for sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman who was visiting the school’s campus and had been drinking at a fraternity party there. Witnesses told authorities they saw Turner on top of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster and intervened.

The backlash spread far and wide, much of it focused on the judge who was criticized for not imposing a more severe sentence that included a state prison term.

Two weeks later, an eerily similar case was prosecuted in Northern Michigan’s Otsego County where another 20-year-old and former high school athletic star Bradley Kussrow, now a Petoskey resident, had been accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old girl at a party earlier this year. Because Kussrow’s father is a retired Gaylord City Police detective, the state attorney general’s office was asked to appoint a special prosecutor to the case, which became Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof’s role.

Much like the California judge, Telgenhof was presented with an opportunity to make an example of a young man who was accused of victimizing an intoxicated young woman.

Telgenhof, like the judge, chose not to push for the heaviest penalties, which in the Otsego County case would have included a lifetime requirement that Kussrow register as a sex offender. Instead, Kussrow entered into a plea agreement offered by prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of felony unlawful imprisonment and was ordered to spend six months in county jail, serve three years probation and not to contact the victim personally, on social media, or through a third party.

The prosecutor has taken plenty of criticism in online postings and comments regarding the story, which was covered by the News-Review last month. In a recent interview, Telgenhof said he doesn’t expect everyone to agree and understands the point of view of those who are critical of his decision.

Telgenhof said he was initially against offering any plea deal that didn’t require Kussrow to register as a sex offender, but eventually backed off that stance as the victim and her family made it clear they didn’t want to relive the experience during court proceedings.

We don’t intend to defend Telgenhof’s choice and we understand the arguments made by his critics, but consider what he says next as action we all can take to prevent more attacks of this type from occurring.

“We have a lot of boys and girls out there who don’t really know what consent is,” Telgenhof said. “I think it’s a huge issue and we need to talk about it.”

Telgenhof notes that there are sexual predators and violent criminals and then there are people who make terrible decisions that victimize others. In Kussrow’s case, he was determined by experts to present a low risk for committing such an offense again in the future. Telgenhof said that factored into his decision when the plea deal was offered.

We’re not here to say whether either of the perpetrators in the aforementioned cases fall specifically into one of those categories, but rather that maybe more can be done to prevent the latter from happening before it does.

Telgenhof, who is also a former baseball coach at Charlevoix High School, says he routinely looks for opportunities to talk with young people about proper sexual conduct and what consent is. Do teens and young adults know? It might be clear to you, but maybe not to others, Telgenhof said. And how can we expect them to know just how devastating their actions can be without educating them?

“It’s not going until she says stop,” the prosecutor said. “If there’s that perception out there that we can get girls drunk and do what we want…”

Maybe Telgenhof is right and a good chunk of the responsibility falls on us (parents, educators, police, other community leaders) to better educate children and young adults.

Last year, Telgenhof said he contacted administrators at each of Charlevoix County’s high schools proposing to meet with students on sexual conduct issues. As part of that, he hoped to show a version of “The Hunting Ground,” a 2015 documentary about sexual assault on college campuses, that is geared specifically to a high school audience. Telgenhof said there was some interest, but none of the schools went so far as to schedule him in.

“I’m frustrated,” he said.

In a time where young people are in constant contact and communication over the internet and social media, the stakes have never been higher. With this in mind, are there ways we can promote more awareness and openness on the topic of sexual conduct, consent and sexual assault?

If these cases are any evidence, it seems so.

‘Our View’ represents the opinion of the News-Review editorial board: Ryan Bentley, Doug Caldwell, Jeremy McBain, Jordan Spence, Steve Zucker and Craig Currier.


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Water System Owners Pay Fine

(from today’s Petoskey News-Review – by Steve Zucker)

CHARLEVOIX — Embattled Walloon Lake Water System owner Dennis Hass has agreed to pay $30,000 in fines to settle a long standing legal battle with the Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney’s office related to allegations that Hass violated an earlier agreement with the prosecutor’s office.

In a news release issued today, Wednesday, Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof announced that that Hass agreed to pay $30,000 to resolve a lawsuit Telgenhof filed on behalf of the State of Michigan in October.

The amount is $20,000 less what Charlevoix County Circuit Court Judge Roy C. Hayes III ordered Hass to pay in December for violating the earlier agreement. In exchange for paying a reduced amount, Hass has agreed to drop his appeal of Hayes’ ruling.

In the lawsuit, Telgenhof contended that Hass and Wallon Lake Water System, Inc. violated a September, 2013 agreement he signed with Telgenhof to resolve an earlier complaint that in which Hass was accused of unfair practices related to the water system’s operation.

In December, Hayes ordered Hass and Walloon Lake Water System, Inc. each to pay $25,000 in civil fines for violating an agreement entered into with Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Telgenhof in 2013.

The 2013 agreement, called an “assurance of discontinuance,” prohibited Hass and the water system from taking “any retaliatory actions” against its customers who had been victims or alleged victims with respect to criminal charges that were previously filed against Hass.

Hass and the water system filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the summer of 2015 against Melrose Township and a number of individuals, including five of the customers involved in the criminal investigation and prosecution: Bunny Marquardt, Todd Reeves, Gale Charbonneau, Lena Carlile and Maud Bray.

In that suit, Hass and the water system accused the customers of engaging in a conspiracy with deputy sheriffs, an assistant prosecutor and the township to use the criminal charges in an attempt to force Hass to sell his private water system that services the Walloon Lake area.

Telgenhof sued Hass and the water system alleging the lawsuit was retaliatory and a violation of the assurance of discontinuance.

Hayes granted Telgenhof’s motion for summary disposition and fined Hass and the water system both the maximum amount allowed by law for the violations, saying that their actions were a “blatant violation of the parties’ agreement.”

In June, Hayes denied a motion to reconsider the assessment of the fines.

In the release Telgenhof noted that Hass’ last post-judgement motion was denied on June 29, 2016 and that Hass had filed a claim of appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals.

“I am glad we finally have payment from Mr. Hass and (the water system),” Telgenhof said in the release. “He paid an amount larger than that we originally sought, without the risk of appeal or collection. I am confident we would have prevailed on appeal but this gives us certainty which is worth a good deal of money. More importantly, I hope that a $30,000 penalty is enough to convince the defendants not to violate our agreement in the future.”

Telgenhof noted that the $30,000 fine may not go to the victims or alleged victims in the original criminal case, but will instead go to Charlevoix County. He said research will still need to be done on exactly what for what purposes the money may be used. He said it will be up to the county’s civil council to make the determination, but the money may be required to go to the county’s law library.

Telgenhof said Hass delivered the check for the $30,000 to his office today, Wednesday.



Today Dennis Hass and Walloon Lake Water System, Inc. paid $30,000 in fines today to resolve the lawsuit brought on behalf of the State of Michigan by Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof last October.

The suit initially asked the Circuit Court to order Hass and WLWS to pay a total of $25,000 in penalties for their actions in filing a federal lawsuit against five of their customers in violation of an agreement they had signed with me on September 10, 2013.

On December 29, 2015, Judge Roy C. Hayes III granted Telgenhof’s motion for summary disposition and his motion to amend the complaint, increasing the amount requested. The judge ordered Hass and WLWS to each pay $25,000 for a total of $50,000. The defendants filed post-judgment motions in Circuit Court, the last of which was denied on June 29, 2016.

The defendants filed a claim of appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals, however, the agreement will result in the dismissal of their appeal in exchange for the reduced payment amount.

“I am glad we finally have payment from Mr. Hass and WLWS. They paid an amount larger than that we originally sought, without the risk of appeal or collection,” Telgenhof said. “I am confident we would have prevailed on appeal but this gives us certainty which is worth a good deal of money. More importantly, I hope that a $30,000 penalty is enough to convince the defendants not to violate our agreement in the future.”

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Thoughts on Comey and Clinton

FBI Director Comey is an honorable man and it’s unfortunate that he’s being attacked. He is a Republican former US Attorney. He understands more about mens rea and criminal intent than all the talking heads and Twitter trolls combined. Everything that people do that is wrong is not criminal, and everything that is criminal is not prosecutable (is that a word?).

Clinton was wrong to use a private server, it increased the possibility of foreign interception. That is poor judgment and a reason not to vote for her but in the opinion of the professionals who reviewed the case, not enough to prosecute.

One last thing, people who say other S of S also used two email accounts miss the point. They did so to separate work from personal. Clinton didn’t use two emails – apparently she chose not to use her government account, putting all work emails on her private server.

In doing so, she increased risk of exposure to sensitive materials and kept control of public disclosure in her hands rather than the government. The FBI found business emails that Clinton didn’t disclose, unintentionally apparently, but that is no excuse. Ironic that she increased chances foreign agents would get information they shouldn’t but decreased chances public would get information they should.

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Petoskey Man Gets Six Months in Jail


Bradley Douglas Kussrow, 20, of Petoskey was sentenced to six months in jail following his guilty plea to attempted unlawful imprisonment by Judge Janet Allen in the Otsego County Circuit Court in Gaylord today.

Kussrow was originally charged with two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct, Third Degree and one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct, Fourth Degree, but accepted a plea agreement and entered a guilty plea to the reduced charge on May 5.

Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof was appointed special prosecutor on the matter by the Attorney General’s Office due to a conflict of interest.

The charges arose from a December 14, 2015 party in Otsego Lake Township attended by eight teenagers, including the victim and defendant.

Kussrow admitted under oath that he had found the victim (who he admitted was highly intoxicated) lying in a bedroom in the home, that he closed and locked the door and that he kissed her, groped her and digitally penetrated her. He told police that he believed that since the victim was not saying “no” that she was “okay” with what he was doing.

Telgenhof said that the plea agreement was entered into because it spared the victim from having to testify at preliminary examination and trial, because it provides a guaranteed conviction and consequence for the defendant, because it had the support of the victim and family and because unlike a criminal sexual conduct conviction, it will not subject the defendant to lifetime registration and a felony conviction that can never come off his record.

“There are no winners in this case,” Telgenhof said. “This young woman is affected forever by what happened to her that night – at the hands of someone she had known for years and trusted. Hopefully this young man understands the pain that he has caused after hearing from her father who read her statement in court today.”

The defense had requested that Kussrow serve no jail time and that he receive Holmes Youthful Trainee status which would have allowed the conviction to automatically come off his record a few years down the road. At the prosecution’s urging, Judge Allen denied both requests.

In sentencing the Defendant, Judge Allen stated, “You found a woman who had been falling down drunk laying in a bed, closed the door, locked it, took your pants down, took her pants down and started doing sexual things to her, that’s not how it is supposed to work. That was your fatal mistake. How did you figure that was okay?…You can’t grope…women until they say no…that’s not how this works.”

“I was very happy with what the judge had to say,” Telgenhof said. “Those words are powerful. She also said that we need to send a message that this behavior has to be deterred. Hopefully we continue to get that word out there. The Stanford rape case has shone a spotlight on this and we need to keep talking about it,” Telgenhof continued. “A woman should be free to have a drink with her friends without the fear of being assaulted or being accused of ‘wanting it.’ Consent isn’t a difficult thing to see. We will keep going to the schools and talking about it, hosting events like The Hunting Ground showing we had in Charlevoix. Things need to change; Judge Allen is exactly right.”

Kussrow also received three years of probation including counseling and treatment as recommended and is to refrain from the use of alcohol and controlled substances while on probation.





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