Alabama Man Sentenced to Prison for Jail Assault

Shane Michael Crowell, 18, of Gurley, Alabama was sentenced to prison for 18 to 48 months with credit for 87 days served on a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon by Judge Roy C. Hayes of the 33rd Circuit Court in Charlevoix County.

Crowell had pleaded guilty on December 6, admitting that he had struck a fellow inmate at the Charlevoix County Jail with a drinking mug. According to the affidavit of probable cause in the case, the assault was the result of a card game in the jail.

This incident resulted in Crowell’s fourth conviction in seven months. Assault with a dangerous weapon is a felony carrying a maximum penalty of four years in prison.

Crowell was convicted of receiving and concealing a stolen motor vehicle and receiving and concealing a firearm on May 17, 2019 in Charlevoix County. The court file in that matter indicates that Crowell and his brother had stolen vehicles in Alabama and Indiana to get to Michigan. They had also stolen two handguns from vehicles and brought those to Michigan as well.

Police found and arrested Crowell at a residence in Bay Township on March 28, 2019. Crowell was sentenced to ten months in jail on those charges on June 28, 2019.

On May 15, 2019, while those charges were pending, Crowell assaulted a fellow inmate at the Charlevoix County Jail, punching them and placing them in a headlock. According to court documents, this fight was as a result of the victim telling Crowell to pick up a banana peel in his cell.

Crowell pleaded guilty to aggravated assault on June 18 and was sentenced to serve 12 months in jail, concurrent with his pending sentence, on July 2.

Additional charges against the defendant are pending in the State of Alabama.

Posted in Uncategorized

Boyne Falls Man Pleads Guilty to Possessing Child Sexually Abusive Material

Tracy Owen Penfold, 57, Boyne Falls pleaded guilty in the 33rd Circuit Court to possessing child sexually abusive material (“CSAM”) and using a computer to commit a crime.

The charges carry maximum possible sentences of four years and seven years in prison, respectively. The sentence on the computer crime charge may be imposed consecutively to the CSAM charge.

Penfold will also be required to register as a sex offender under Michigan law.

According to an affidavit filed in the matter, Penfold’s employer was experiencing computer issues on its network and hired a company to investigate and solve the problems.

The company discovered suspicious activity on the network and indicated that it needed physical possession of the computer involved to conduct further investigation. The computer was turned over by Penfold to the employer and then to the company.

While working on the computer, the company discovered material that was believed to possibly contain CSAM and stopped all activity on the computer. They advised the employer who then contacted the Michigan State Police.

The State Police forensically reviewed the contents of the computer and detected 98 images that were tagged as possible child sexually abusive material. Five of the images were specifically described in the affidavit as appearing to include a child engaging in a sexual act.

In exchange for Penfold’s guilty pleas, the prosecution agreed to dismiss a third charge of larceny in a building. According to the affidavit, that charge related to Penfold taking the work computer from his employer without permission.

Penfold is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Roy C. Hayes III on February 28.

Posted in Uncategorized

Man Sentenced to Prison for Domestic Violence

This morning in the 33rd Circuit Court in Charlevoix County, David Michael Thomas, 32, of East Jordan, was sentence to serve 16 to 60 months in prison following his conviction for domestic violence, third offense.

Thomas had pleaded guilty on December 20, 2019. He was initially charged with two counts of domestic violence, third offense and one count of attempted domestic violence.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, on September 23, 2019, Thomas engaged in assaults on two different victims, pushing one and striking another in the face. He also allegedly attempted to push a third.

Court documents show that Thomas had been convicted of three prior felony drug charges and 10 prior misdemeanors.


Posted in Uncategorized

Man Sentenced on Animal Cruelty Matter

This morning in the 33rd Circuit Court, Travis Jon Nelson, 29, Boyne City, was sentenced to pay $1,874 in restitution and to serve 100 hours of community service at the Charlevoix County Humane Society following his conviction on animal cruelty charges.

On October 3, 2019, Nelson pleaded guilty to a felony charge of attempted torturing of an animal.

Nelson admitted that he had used a small hair tie band with metal wraps to attempt to castrate a house cat belonging to his girlfriend’s mother. Nelson said that he had seen this procedure, called “banding”, used on farm animals and thought that it would save money on neutering.

The band was left on the cat for approximately two weeks.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, a witness said that the banding had made the cat act angry and appear to be in pain. The procedure caused the banded area to turn red and purple. Eventually, on another family member took the cat to an animal clinic who in turn notified Charlevoix County Animal Control who investigated the incident.

Since February 25, 2019, the cat has been in the care of the humane society. The restitution was ordered to compensate the humane society for the care and treatment of the cat.

Judge Roy C. Hayes III said that though it appeared that Nelson did not mean to harm the cat, his actions showed a lack of common sense and caused injury. Hayes told Nelson that he would first have to undergo an interview at the humane society to be cleared for community service but that the court’s expectation was that the community service would be performed there.



Posted in Uncategorized

Petoskey Man Charged With Multiple Felonies

Thomas Richard Pettersch, 26, Petoskey, was charged today in Charlevoix County with 21 felony counts related to a string of break-ins of seasonal homes and properties.

Pettersch is charged with two counts of home invasion, first degree, a felony with a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. He is charged with 14 counts of home invasion, second degree which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years.

Lastly, Pettersch is charged with five counts of breaking and entering a building with intent, a 10-year felony. The prosecution also filed a habitual offender, fourth, notice which increases the maximum of all the offenses to life in prison.

Pettersch is currently lodged in the Cheboygan County Jail related to a similar charge he is facing there.

According to an affidavit filed in the matter, there were 19 break-ins in Charlevoix County reported or discovered between October 27 and 30. All involved seasonal homes on area lakes.

Firearms were stolen from two of the residences, resulting in the most serious charges of first-degree home invasion. The second-degree home invasion charges relate to the other house break-ins and the breaking and entering with intent charges relate to properties where a garage or shed was entered.

Items stolen also included a chain saw, leaf blower, pellet guns, flashlights, a drill, watches, an air compressor, a nail gun, a planer, jewelry and loose change.

Because most of the owners do not reside in the area full-time, many have been unable to travel yet to their properties to observe what had or had not been taken. There is also the possibility of other break-ins that may not have yet been discovered.

The affidavit indicates that after Pettersch’s arrest, officers obtained a search warrant for his home and located several items that had been reported as stolen in the Charlevoix County thefts.

The charges against Pettersch are merely allegations at this time and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Prosecuting Attorney’s Letter Regarding Officer Involved Shooting of October 26


Posted in Uncategorized

Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Welcomes New Assistant Prosecutors

Left to Right – Peter O’Connell, Mary Farrell, Allen Telgenhof, Kerry Zahnerprosecutors

The Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney’s office has welcomed two new additions as Mary Farrell and Peter O’Connell have joined as assistant prosecutors.

“We were so fortunate to find two people with this type of experience, varied legal backgrounds and familiarity with our area,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said.

Farrell joins the office from Muskegon County where she served as a Senior Assistant Prosecuting Attorney prosecuting felony cases up to and including capital cases such as murder.

She graduated from Charlevoix High School in 1980 known then as Mary Horton.

“I have always considered Charlevoix to be home,” Farrell said. “The opportunity to be able to serve the residents of Charlevoix County is very appealing to me.”

O’Connell recently retired from the Michigan Court of Appeals where he served as judge for 25 years. Prior to that, O’Connell was a district judge for 15 years. He resides full-time in Boyne City where he has owned a house for many years.

“Allen should be congratulated for giving a senior citizen a second chance,” O’Connell joked. “Retirement is not the place for someone with a Type A personality.”

“I’m looking forward to being an assistant prosecutor, this is where I started my career and it was one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had,” O’Connell said.

Before becoming a judge, O’Connell was chief assistant prosecuting attorney in Isabella County.

Telgenhof said that Farrell will continue prosecution of special victim cases, including criminal sexual conduct, which has been an area of specialty for her. O’Connell will primarily handle the office’s district court docket, according to Telgenhof.

“These two fine attorneys bring a total of 74 years of experience as attorneys to our office,” Telgenhof stated. “Charlevoix County will really benefit from their expertise.”

The two new hires replace Caitlin Borchard who is now program director for the Traverse Bay Child Advocacy Center in Traverse City and Susan Houseknecht who moved to North Carolina.

Kerry Zahner, Charlevoix County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, has been an attorney for 23 years and a prosecutor for 14 years.

“I believe we have one of the most experienced set of prosecutors in the state, certainly for a county our size,” Telgenhof said.

Posted in Uncategorized