Muskegon Man Sent to Prison on Meth Charge

This morning in the 33rd Circuit Court, Matthew Allen Bays, 38, Muskegon, was sentenced to serve 66 to 240 months in prison for selling methamphetamine to a confidential informant.

Bays had pleaded guilty on December 7, 2021 to delivery of methamphetamine. The offense occurred on June 9, 2021 in the City of Charlevoix.

“The work of the Joint Operational Law Enforcement Team (JOLT) in our county again has led to another drug dealer going to prison,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug that ruins lives and we will continue to vigorously prosecute not only those who sell the drug, but also those who bring this drug into our county.”

Bays had been released from prison only three months prior to selling the drugs in this case. He was previously convicted of four felonies and 16 misdemeanors. This sentence is the third time that Bays has been sentenced to prison.

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Man Convicted of Terrorist Threats Gets 5 to 20 Year Sentence

Judge Thomas G. Power sentenced Jonathon Paul Stewart, 33, Atlanta (MI) to serve 5 to 20 years in prison following his conviction for making terrorist threats and malicious use of a telecommunication device.

Stewart has been in jail since his arrest in June 2021 and will receive credit for the 201 days served.

He was convicted by a Charlevoix County jury after a two-day trial that concluded on December 2.

At trial, three Charlevoix County employees testified that Stewart placed four phone calls to the Charlevoix County building on June 10, 2021, during which he berated and threatened county employees, used obscenities and vulgarities about the employees.

Evidence showed that Stewart was upset because of a show cause order he had received regarding a Friend of the Court case and that an employee would not transfer his call until he gave them his name.

Stewart left a voicemail for one county employee saying, “I guarantee you’re going to want to call a cop because I will be outside waiting for you after work to discuss this with you without a phone in between us.”

In his final phone call of the day, Stewart told a county employee to “put a cop on the phone or I’m going to come down and start shooting,” according to a witness. She testified that later in the call told her numerous times that he was going to come and shoot her.

The employees notified the security officers in the building who took the information from caller ID and were able to identify the call as coming from Stewart’s address in Atlanta. A Montmorency County deputy made contact with Stewart within an hour.

Power handled the case on assignment by the State Court Administrator’s Office because Judge Roy C. Hayes III was recused from the case because one of the people threatened by Stewart worked for the 33rd Circuit Court.

“Two of the victims in this case addressed the Court this afternoon at sentencing. Their words were powerful as they told the judge and defendant how this day and the defendant’s actions had impacted them,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “One of the victims said that she wanted the defendant to know that she was not just some faceless government employee on the line, that she is a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter.”

“Hopefully this sentence will send the message that people can’t make threats like this, those types of things have real consequences for the people receiving the threats and, with this sentence, it will have a real consequence for this defendant.”

Stewart had been convicted of four prior felonies and 17 prior misdemeanors. Power departed downward from the recommended minimum guideline range of 84 to 240 months in prison. He stated he did so because all of Stewart’s prior felonies and most of his misdemeanors occurred in 2012 and prior.

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East Jordan Man Gets Prison on Drug Charges

Archie William Graham, 41, East Jordan, was sentenced to prison today in the 33rd Circuit Court on methamphetamine charges.

Graham was sentenced to 48 months to 20 years on a charge of possession with the intent to deliver methamphetamine for an incident that occurred on May 12, 2021 and 20 months to 10 years on a charge of possession of methamphetamine which occurred on August 18, 2021.

The defendant had pleaded guilty to the charges The two sentences will be served concurrently.

Graham had previously been sent to prison in 2015 for five years for delivery of methamphetamine.

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Boyne Falls Man Sentenced to Prison

Brian James Fortune, 34, Boyne Falls, was sentenced to prison today in the 33rd Circuit Court on two separate cases.

Fortune was sentenced to serve 16 to 24 months, with 91 days jail credit, on a conviction of three counts of resisting and obstructing corrections officers. Fortune pleaded guilty on Nov. 19.

The incidents occurred at the Charlevoix County Jail in March of 2021, while Fortune was serving a sentence after being convicted of another resisting and obstructing a police officer. According to an affidavit filed in the case, Fortune physically resisted and threatened to kill officers and their families on numerous occasions.

Today Fortune was also sentenced to serve 36 months to 10 years on an additional charge of possession of methamphetamine. That offense occurred on Oct. 15, 2021 when he was on bond for the jail offenses.

Judge Roy C. Hayes III ordered that the two sentences be served consecutively.

“With these sentences, the defendant will not be eligible for parole for 52 months,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof. “He was a terror in the Charlevoix County Jail for months and used racial slurs and threats against officers who were doing nothing other than trying to do their job. Then when he was released on bond, he possessed dangerous drugs while driving.”

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Man Sentenced to Prison for Child Sexual Assault

Ryan James Simmons, 36, Atlanta (MI) was sentenced to serve 30 to 90 years in prison for his conviction for first degree criminal sexual assault today in the 33rd Circuit Court.

In pronouncing the sentence, Judge Roy C. Hayes III said this case was “probably the worst case I’ve seen in my years on the bench.”

Simmons pleaded guilty on Nov. 2, 2021 to sexual penetration of a child under the age of 13.

At sentencing, the court heard from the survivor who said that Simmons had sexually abused her from the age of eight to 15 in Boyne City. She said that other children had also been abused by Simmons over the years and asked the court to send Simmons away for the maximum possible because otherwise “nobody will be safe from him, because predators like him don’t stop.”

Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said, “Though this case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mary Farrell, I was privileged to be in the courtroom for sentencing and hear this survivor stand up to the man who tormented her for so long and speak so eloquently and powerfully about her experience. It was very moving.”

The sentencing guidelines called for a minimum sentence of 126 to 210 months in prison, but Hayes exceeded those guidelines, indicating that they did not properly take into account the details of this case including Simmons threatening to kill the victim’s family members in front of her if she ever told anyone about his abuse.

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Kentucky Man Gets Prison In Charlevoix County

Michael Joseph Ortiz, 33, of Lexington, Kentucky, was sentenced to a minimum of nearly 13 years in prison for charges arising out of a crime spree in the City of Charlevoix on May 7, 2021.

The Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a confidential informant who had been in contact with Ortiz who said that Ortiz brings large quantities of drugs from Kentucky to sell in Charlevoix County.

Officers responded by surveilling Ortiz who drove a car with a stolen license plate and police attempted to make a traffic stop near Family Fare in Charlevoix. Ortiz refused to stop and and drove at a high rate in downtown Charlevoix, attempting to elude officers until he crashed into a tree at the intersection of Park and State Streets.

In the vehicle, police located quantities of methamphetmine, fentanyl, adderall, oxycodone hydrochloride as well as a handgun. At sentencing, Ortiz admitted that he was under the influence of drugs at the time.

“This was a dangerous situation where members of the public were put at risk by this defendant’s actions,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “This is another example of cases where drugs are not a victimless crime.”

Ortiz pleaded guilty on October 15 to possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of fentanyl with intent to deliver and being in possession of a firearm during the course of a felony.

He was sentenced to serve 130 months to 30 years on the drug charges with the sentences to be served concurrently and 24 months on the weapons charge to be served consecutively to the drug charges.

Ortiz was previously convicted of 7 prior felonies and 13 misdemeanors and received seven prior jail sentences and three prior prison sentences.

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Man Guilty of Making Terroristic Threats

A Charlevoix County jury found Jonathon Paul Stewart, 33, Atlanta guilty of making a terroristic threat and malicious use of an electronic communication device.

The trial took two days and the jury deliberated for less than an hour before rendering a verdict.

Three Charlevoix County employees testified that Stewart placed four phone calls to the Charlevoix County building on June 10, 2021, during which he berated and threatened county employees, used obscenities and vulgarities about the employees.

Stewart left a voicemail for one county employee saying, “I guarantee you’re going to want to call a cop because I will be outside waiting for you after work to discuss this with you without a phone in between us.”

In his final phone call of the day, Stewart told a county employee to “put a cop on the phone or I’m going to come down and start shooting,” according to a witness. She testified that later in the call told her numerous times that he was going to come and shoot her.

The employees notified the security officers in the building who took the information from caller ID and were able to identify the call as coming from Stewart’s address in Atlanta. A Montmorency County deputy made contact with Stewart within an hour.

“I want to thank the jurors for their time and consideration with the case,” said Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof, who tried the case for the prosecution.

“I also want to thank the brave women who faced the person who had terrorized them and told the jury about this harrowing experience and what they were put through. One person said she didn’t know if she was going to make it home that night,” Telgenhof said. “No person should ever be made to feel that way for just doing their job.”

“The women promptly got information to law enforcement, they made written statements immediately while the facts were fresh in their mind and police quickly identified the person and made contact to determine whether he was on his way to Charlevoix. Everyone involved in the case did a tremendous job to avoid a greater tragedy, especially our courthouse security officers, Jim Spires and Pete Shrift.”

Stewart will be sentenced at a later date by Judge Thomas G. Power who was assigned the case.

The crime of making a terroristic threat carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, however, Stewart has been convicted of six prior felonies so he will be sentenced as a habitual offender with a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The malicious use of an electronic communication device conviction carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail. Stewart has been in jail since his arrest in June with his bond set at $200,000.

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Two Men Sent to Prison for Sexual Crimes

Two men were sentenced to prison this morning in the 33rd Circuit Court.

Jerry Joe Gildner, 43, Gaylord, was sentenced to serve a minimum of 29 months in prison following his guilty pleas to charges of surveilling an unclothed person and using a computer to commit a crime.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, Gildner created videos of individuals having sex by either hiding a video camera or by filming through a door that was ajar. The recordings were found on Gildner’s computer and computer equipment when police executed a search warrant at his home.

In imposing the sentences, which exceeded the recommended guideline range, Judge Roy C. Hayes III stated, “People should not be recorded like this. This is a serious violation of the criminal law.”

Hayes stated that the guidelines did not take into account the sheer number of victims, the destruction that the defendant’s behavior had caused. He sentenced Gildner to serve 18 to 48 months on the computer crime and 11 to 24 months on the surveilling charge, with the sentences to be served consecutively or back-to-back.

“This sentence was possible due to letters written by three strong women who suffered as a result of this defendant’s actions. They faced him and they are now all safe from his actions,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “This was also a result of excellent police work by the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office and Detective Ben Speigl in particular.”

Tracy Owen Penfold, 58, Boyne Falls, was also sentenced to prison on a charge of possession of child sexually abusive material. Penfold had pleaded guilty on October 1, 2021.

Court records indicate that, on a computer that Penfold had taken from his work, police found over 90 images of child sexually abusive material that had been accessed from the internet. Some of the images showed children as young as infants and toddlers.

Penfold was sentenced to serve 20 to 48 months with the Michigan Department of Corrections. He is also now a registered sex offender.

In imposing sentence, which was another upward departure from the sentencing guidelines, Judge Hayes indicated that the guidelines did not account for the number of offenses, the harm to the children involved and the ages of the children involved.

“I was very pleased that the judge took notice of the fact that this is not a victimless crime or ‘just’ a pornography addiction,” Telgenhof noted. “These types of offenders create the market online for children to be abused, as the court said.”

“Common Angle, an IT support company in Petoskey, was critical to this case. They noticed that the defendant was utilizing a work computer and they discovered what he was accessing and notified law enforcement. This prosecution would not have happened if not for them.”

“The Michigan State Police Computer Crimes Division was able to locate the images and Dr. Cynthia Smith was our expert witness, reviewing these disturbing images, preparing a report and testifying as to the ages of the children that were shown,” Telgenhof said. “We owe a debt of gratitude to all who worked on this case.”

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Molotov Cocktail Defendant Sentenced

KeNen Michael-Damian Borths, 25, Charlevoix was sentenced to serve 10 to 20 years in prison this morning in the 33rd Circuit Court.

Borths had pleaded guilty earlier to sending an explosive with the intent to cause property damage and lying to a peace officer during the investigation of a violent crime.

According to the plea and court records, on August 8, 2020, Borths purchased a bottle of rum, placed a towel in the neck of it and set the bottle on fire. The bottle was then thrown through a window into a house in the City of Charlevoix at approximately 11:30 p.m.

Borths told the court that he had put out the fire in the bottle before he threw it into the house. At the sentencing, Charlevoix County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mary Farrell disputed this assertion.

When Borths was later interviewed by police, he provided a false story to police, indicating he was not in the area at the time of the offense.

One of the victims spoke at sentencing and described the terror involved in the incident and how it has changed their lives. They indicated that while they did know and forgive Borths, they asked for the maximum sentence to be imposed.

In her allocution, Farrell discussed not only the impact the case had on the victims, but also on the community as a whole, saying “these types of crimes don’t happen up here.”

She also discussed the fact that when the incident was initially reported, members of the public and media raised concerns that the crime was a hate crime because the victims were of color. In fact, Farrell noted, the police knew early on that Borths was the likely offender and that as he is of color himself, and his motivation was personal and not racial.

Farrell also thanked the many police agencies involved in the investigation including the City of Charlevoix Police Department, Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service.

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Convicted Drug Dealer Gets Prison

This morning in the 33rd Circuit Court, Judge Roy C. Hayes III sentenced Jonathan Michael Mullen, 31, Lansing to serve a minimum of 15 years in prison following his conviction at a jury trial on September 3, 2021.

A Charlevoix County jury convicted Mullen of possession with intent to deliver heroin, two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of ammunition by a felon, possession of a silencer and two counts of resisting and obstructing after a three-day trial.

Mullen was sentenced to serve 10 to 40 years on the drug charge and five years on the possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony with those sentences to be served consecutively.

On the remaining charges, Mullen was sentenced to serve five to 15 years, with those sentences to be served concurrently with the others.

On February 2, 2021, officers of the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office and the Boyne City Police Department executed a search warrant at an apartment in the city of Boyne City where Mullen was residing.

They seized drugs that tested positive for heroin and fentanyl, as well as a cutting agent, for a total weight of two ounces or 50 grams.

Police also located a loaded handgun in the bedroom where Mullen had been staying and an AR-15 which had been put into a vehicle by Mullen. Additionally the police located ammunition and firearm parts including a silencer.

Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof had asked the court to sentence Mullen to the maximum sentence under the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines which would have been a minimum of 258 months in prison.

“I cannot overstate the bravery of the officers who executed the search warrant in this matter and led to holding the Defendant accountable,” Telgenhof said. “We showed the video of the incident to the jury and it was harrowing. When officers knocked on the door, they heard the Defendant’s voice then heard him deadlock the door. They knew that he had weapons inside the residence and when the door was eventually opened, officers did not see Mullen as he had run to the back of the apartment.”

“Fortunately rather than running to get the loaded gun, the Defendant ran into the bathroom and attempted to flush the drugs down the toilet.”

Mullen was convicted of seven prior felonies and five prior misdemeanors and has been to prison on three prior occasions.

A charge against Mullen for delivering a controlled substance causing death is pending in the 33rd Circuit Court. That charge arises out of a delivery which allegedly occurred from the same Boyne City apartment just two days prior to the drug raid in this case which resulted in a young woman overdosing in Charlevoix Township.

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