Man Bound Over for Trial For Terroristic Threats

Jonathan Paul Stewart, 33, Atlanta, was bound over to stand trial in the 33rd Circuit Court on charges of making terroristic threats and malicious use of a telecommunications service.

Yesterday, 90th District Court Judge Angela Lasher heard preliminary examination testimony from three Charlevoix County employees who testified that on June 10 they received threatening phone calls from a male caller.

One witness said that the caller had left her a voicemail saying that she would want to call the police because he would be waiting outside for her after work. A second witness testified that the caller had told her that he was a paranoid schizophrenic who didn’t care what happened to him,  that “someone needs to teach those young (expletives) how to do their jobs,” and that if he wasn’t put through to who he wanted, he would drive the two hours to the courthouse and no one would want to know what would happen if he did that.

Another witness testified that the caller told her to get a cop on the phone because he was going to come down and start shooting. He told her that he would shoot her if she did not get a cop on the phone. When she tried to reason with him, the caller said, “Why are you being so (expletive) stupid? You’re being threatened, get a cop on the phone or I’m going to come down and show you what somebody can do that is pissed off.”

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the matter, police used the information from the county caller ID to determine that Stewart made the calls. He was questioned by a deputy from Montmorency County who also testified at the examination.

An act of terrorism is defined as a felony, dangerous to human life, that is threatened in order to intimidate, frighten or coerce a civilian population or influence or affect the conduct of government or a unit of government through intimidation or coercion.

Making a threat of terrorism is a felony with a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Malicious use of a telecommunications device is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of six months in jail.

The defendant is presumed guilty and is entitled to that presumption of innocence unless and until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Stewart is being held on $200,000 bond. A scheduling conference is set in the 33rd Circuit Court for August 6, 2021.

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Central Lake Man Sent to Prison for Assault

Judge Roy C. Hayes III sentenced a Central Lake man to serve 38 to 120 months in prison for what the judge termed a “brutal, unprovoked assault” on a Charlevoix woman last summer.

Landon Scott Barrett, 24, was convicted on assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder in the 33rd Circuit Court following a two-day jury trial on June 22.

In imposing sentence, the judge outlined the evidence against Barrett, saying he found the victim’s trial testimony compelling and credible. At trial she described the defendant intentionally leading her to a secluded, unfamiliar location near Mt. McSauba in Charlevoix Township late at night then striking her over 40 times during a vicious assault on June 17, 2020.

The victim who eventually fought her way loose from the defendant, according to the judge, was understandably fearful that she would be killed or raped.

The victim spoke very powerfully at the sentencing, saying that an act of kindness, of offering to give the defendant a ride home, had forever changed her life. She spoke of how the attack continues to affect and haunt her. She said that she was convinced the defendant was attempting to either kill her or to knock her out so that he could rape her.

The Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office initially charged Barrett with assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, and that charge was also bound over to the 33rd Circuit Court, but Hayes granted a defense motion to dismiss that charge, finding there was insufficient evidence to show the offense was for a sexual purpose.

The prosecution sought review of that decision, however, the Court of Appeals did not agree to hear the issue.

At sentencing, Hayes credited law enforcement (Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Charlevoix Police Department) for what he called an excellent job of investigating the matter and tracking down the defendant’s identity and locating him, leading to the prosecution.

For his part, in his written account the defendant provided what Hayes called a “bizarre, disturbing and nonsensical” description, saying that he had felt threatened by the victim and had only accidentally struck her with his elbow as he tried to get away from her.

“I am so grateful for the bravery of the survivor of this brutal and senseless attack,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “She was a fighter on that night, fighting for her life and her survival, and she was a fighter in the courtroom at trial, having the courage to testify against this person who terrorized her.”

“Again today, she spoke out powerfully about her experience. Because of her, I believe that other women may not face the same fate.”

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Man Who Failed to Show For Trial then Appeared While High Sentenced to Prison

Jeremy Lee Thayer, 44, Boyne City, was sentenced to prison today in the 33rd Circuit Court. Thayer was sentenced to serve 23 to 84 months on a conviction for delivery of methamphetamine, 13 to 120 months for witness interference and 9 months for attempted assault with a dangerous weapon.

The witness interference sentence will run consecutive to the methamphetamine charge because it was committed from the Charlevoix County Jail, while the case was pending. The assault charge will run concurrent to the other two.

As a result, Thayer will be eligible for parole after serving 36 months, he received credit for 321 days already served.

Thayer’s case was scheduled for trial and jurors were summoned on two separate occasions. The first time, on November 4, 2020, Thayer failed to appear for trial. On the second, April 14, 2021, he appeared but was acting suspiciously and admitted to using controlled substances prior to court.

The case was then adjourned with the defendant not being able to proceed while impaired. He later tested positive for methamphetamine.

As a result of two sets of jurors being summoned, the waste of time to those individuals, the attorneys and the Court as well as the cost to the county, Judge Roy C. Hayes III also ordered Thayer to pay court costs of $2000. Hayes noted this was less than the actual cost to the county as a result of Thayer’s actions.

Thayer had pleaded guilty on June 15, 2021 to selling methamphetamine to a confidential informant and then writing them a letter from the jail in which they discouraged them from testifying against him.

He also pleaded no contest to assaulting a former girlfriend by hitting her in the head with a 2 by 4 piece of wood. He had previously been convicted of nine prior misdemeanors, including domestic violence and other assaultive offenses.

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Man Sentenced to Prison for Stolen Property and Probation Violation

In the 33rd Circuit Court today, Edwin Lee Sarasin, 56, Charlevoix, was sentenced to serve 38 to 60 months in prison on a charge of receiving and concealing stolen property $1000 or more but less than $20,000.

Sarasin had pleaded guilty on March 23 and was originally sentenced on April 26. At that time, he was placed on 18 months of probation and was given credit for 359 days served.

On May 15, police were called to Ferry Beach where Sarasin was found highly intoxicated, having damaged property in the public bathroom and creating a public disturbance. Sarasin was found guilty of a probation violation and was re-sentenced.

In the original case, Sarasin was found outside of a condominium in the City of Charlevoix together with many personal items stolen from inside of one of the units. He was initially charged with home invasion as well as resisting and obstructing police.

Sarasin had previously been convicted of four felonies and 14 misdemeanors, most relating to the use of alcohol and being combative with police officers.

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Jury Finds Man Guilty of Assault

Following a two-day trial, a Charlevoix County jury convicted Landon Scott Barrett, 24, Central Lake, of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder for an incident that occurred on June 17, 2020.

The victim of the assault testified that in the early morning hours, she had given Barrett what she thought was a ride to his home. Instead, he led her to a secluded location in the north side of Charlevoix Township where he assaulted her.

She testified that he had her make numerous turns so she did not know where she was until she ended up in a location with no houses in sight. There she stopped her vehicle to let Barrett out and he assaulted her, punching her repeatedly in the side of the head and face.

He put his arm around her as he continued to assault her. The victim was able to get free from Barrett and leave her vehicle, but Barrett continued the assault, getting her to the ground and straddling her while he continued to strike her.

She escaped to her vehicle, but Barrett grabbed her and pulled her out and continued to assault her. The victim was eventually able to push Barrett off her and drive away to safety and call police.

Initially, Barrett was charged with assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct. A preliminary examination took place in the 90th District Court and following that hearing, Barrett was bound over to trial on that charge as well as an added charge of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder.

In the 33rd Circuit Court, Judge Roy C. Hayes granted a defense motion to quash the bindover and dismissed the assault with intent to commit sexual assault charge. The court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to show that Barrett’s assault was for a sexual purpose.

The Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office then requested that the Michigan Court of Appeals review that decision, however, the appellate court refused to hear the matter and the case proceeded to trial.

The crime of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder is a felony with a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison. Barrett will be sentenced in the 33rd Circuit Court on July 16.

“All credit goes to the young woman who fought off her assailant in a remote location in the middle of the night with no one around to help or hear her,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “Then she came into the courtroom and eloquently described the terrifying event.”

“I want to thank the jury for their attention and consideration in this disturbing case. I also want to acknowledge the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Charlevoix Police Department for a good investigation and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mary Farrell who did an excellent job trying the case,” Telgenhof added.

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Charlevoix Man Gets Prison for Possessing Child Sexually Abusive Material

Gaugi Leston Holm, 51, Charlevoix was scheduled to prison this morning in the 33rd Circuit Court following his convictions for possessing child sexually abusive material and using a computer to commit a crime.

The defendant was sentenced by Judge Roy C. Hayes III to serve 36 to 84 months for using a computer to commit a crime and 24 to 48 months for possessing the material. The sentences will run concurrently.

Holm pleaded guilty to both charges on April 9, admitting that he accessed and possessed images of children engaged in sexual activities.

According to a police affidavit filed in the case, this investigation began when the Internet crimes Against Children Task Force received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children indicating that Holm had downloaded the materials.

The tips were followed up by the Michigan State Police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who located the images on the Defendant’s Google drive and accessed them from his computer.

Holm was convicted on two charges of criminal sexual conduct involving victims under the age of 13 and was sentenced to serve 8 to 40 years in prison at that time.

At the sentencing, Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said that the defendant is a predator who has had the opportunities to change his behavior, through programming both while he was in prison and after his release, but he has failed to do so, continuing to seek sexual satisfaction from children, this time through images.

Telgenhof also stressed that this is not a victimless crime, since actual children were victimized in creating the images and that a market exists for these materials due to people like Holm.

“The court focused on safety of the public in fashioning this sentence,” Telgenhof stated. “This person has shown they cannot stop this type of behavior and the only way we can be sure the public is protected is if they are imprisoned.”

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Charlevoix Man Sentenced to Prison for Possessing Methamphetamine Components

Nicolas Jeffery Kerr, 33, Charlevoix, was sentenced to serve 36 to 120 months in prison today in the 33rd Circuit Court following his conviction for possession of methamphetamine, as a habitual offender, 4th.

Kerr was originally charged with owning or possessing a chemical or laboratory equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine. In his plea hearing, Kerr acknowledged under oath that chemicals and equipment found in a duffle bag behind a local store in the City of Charlevoix belonged to him.

Though Kerr has served nearly a year in jail on this charge, he will receive no jail credit because he was on parole at the time of the offense due to a prior felony drug conviction.

According to a police affidavit filed in the matter, police were called to the location on March 1, 2019, and discovered a bag containing methamphetamine components including lithium batteries, a battery cutter, buprenorphine (Sudafed) and chemicals.

Police were told that the bag belonged to Kerr and in a recorded interview with police, Kerr discussed the items in the bag and how he utilized them to make methamphetamine.

“I want to thank the officers from the City of Charlevoix Police and Fire Departments as well as the Michigan State Police 7th District Clandestine Lab Response Team, who responded to the dangerous scene,” Telgenhof said. “The manufacture of methamphetamine is very dangerous and these officers defused a potentially hazardous situation.

The case was investigated by the Charlevoix City Police Department with assistance from the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office.

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Man Sentenced to Prison for Sexually Assaulting Two Children

Matthew John Dietz, 42, Alpena, was sentenced to serve 70 months to 15 years in prison on two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct, Second Degree.

Dietz had pleaded guilty to these charges as well as two counts of Accosting a Child for an Immoral Purpose on February 24, 2021.

According to a police affidavit filed in the case, Dietz kissed and groped two children, ages 9 and 10, in Hayes Township in September of 2018. When the police attempted to interview Dietz, he stole a car and fled the area.

After the FBI posted a reward for information on Dietz’s whereabouts, the Michigan State Police Fugitive Team, responding to a tip, arrested Dietz in Alpena in April of 2020.

Dietz was sentenced to sentences of 30 months to four years on the accosting charges. All of the sentences will run concurrently.

He is also required to register as a sex offender and to electronic monitoring, both for life.

“As Judge (Roy C.) Hayes said in imposing sentence, crimes against children are the most heinous,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “These brave children immediately spoke up about what the defendant had done to them. He will not only be in prison, but will be registered and monitored for the rest of his life.”

The crime was investigated by Detective Cody Wheat of the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office and was prosecuted by Charlevoix County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mary Farrell.

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Former Boyne Falls Village Clerk Sentenced

Debra Jane Taylor, 66, Boyne Falls, was sentenced to 18 months of probation preceded by two months of jail, 14 days to be served immediately following her conviction of embezzlement of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000.

Judge Roy C. Hayes III handed down the sentence this morning in the 33rd Circuit Court.

Taylor had pleaded guilty to the charge on January 22, acknowledging that she had stolen $3,203.80 from the Village of Boyne Falls where she had been the longtime village clerk.

Police records showed that Taylor had failed to deposit cash payments for village water bills on 11 occasions going back to July 2014 and instead had kept the funds for herself.

The Michigan Sentencing Guidelines called for a minimum sentence of 0 to 3 months in jail and the Michigan Department of Corrections recommended no jail time, however, Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof asked the court to order incarceration.

Telgenhof said that without a jail sentence it might appear that someone can steal from the public, pay the money back and have no punishment. Both Taylor and the court noted the humiliation that had resulted from the arrest and Taylor’s criminal record now shows this criminal conviction.

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Beaver Island Man Sent to Prison for Sexual Assault

Lawrence Clair Pease III, 34, Beaver Island was sentenced to serve 18 to 40 years in prison following his conviction of Criminal Sexual Conduct, First Degree today in the 33rd Circuit Court.

Pease pleaded guilty on February 5, 2021 to sexual penetration involving a child under the age of 13.

In sentencing Pease, Judge Roy C. Hayes III noted that the sexual assault of children is one of the most heinous crimes that he sees and that it was particularly offensive in this circumstance.

The case was prosecuted by Charlevoix County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mary Farrell and was investigated by the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Child Protective Services.

“This predator will be in prison for a long time thanks to the bravery of the victim in this case, and solid work by the investigators and Ms. Farrell,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “We were very happy to have such a result without the victim having to be retraumatized by testifying at trial.”

In addition to the prison sentence, Pease will be a registered sex offender for life and have lifetime electronic monitoring.

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