Petoskey Man Sentenced to Prison for String of Charlevoix County Home Invasions

This morning in the 33rd Circuit Court, Thomas Richard Pettersch, 27, Petoskey, was sentenced to serve 10 to 20 years in prison for a crime spree committed in Charlevoix and Cheboygan Counties in October of 2019.

According to a police affidavit in the case, Pettersch committed 19 home invasions in Charlevoix County which were reported October 27 through the 30th.

The houses were clustered into groups in the Thumb Lake area and an area on the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix. Pettersch stole guns, tools and other personal items.

“The defendant targeted areas of mostly seasonal homes,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “He went places where no one was likely to be around and gained entry breaking windows, screens or doors.”

Pettersch was arrested after performing a similar crime in Cheboygan County which was seen live via security camera by the victim who called police. The 911 call led to a car chase and his apprehension.

Police located items stolen from the Charlevoix County crimes in his truck as well as his residence in Petoskey once police obtained a search warrant.

On August 28, Pettersch pleaded guilty to home invasion, first degree and two counts of home invasion, second degree and the remaining charges against him were dismissed.

The first degree home invasion charge related to one of the homes where Pettersch stole a firearm which increases the maximum penalty from 15 to 20 years in prison.

“With concurrent sentencing, whether this defendant was found guilty of two second degree home invasions or 25 made no difference in the scoring of the guidelines or his maximum penalty,” Telgenhof said. “With this sentence, the defendant will not be eligible for parole for ten years.”

The court could have ordered that Pettersch’s sentences on the second degree home invasion charges be served consecutively to the first degree home invasion charge, but Judge Roy C. Hayes III declined to use his discretion for this purpose, indicating he felt the 10-year minimum was appropriate under the circumstances.

Records indicated that Pettersch had previously been convicted of similar offenses in Indiana and Florida. He was ordered to pay $62,264.50 in restitution to the victims.

“This was an example of excellent police work by the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office, led by Detective Ben Speigl, tying together numerous cases with physical evidence leading to a resolution where the public will be safe from this defendant for quite a while,” Telgenhof said.

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CHARLEVOIX MAN CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER

KeNen Michael-Damian Borths, 24, Charlevoix, has been charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder and one count of sending an explosive with intent to damage or destroy property.

The arrest arises from an Aug. 8 incident during which a “Molotov cocktail” was thrown through the window of a residence in the City of Charlevoix.

According to a police affidavit filed in the matter, the explosive device was thrown into a bedroom window where two residents were present. Police responded and found a broken rum bottle with a partially burned towel in the neck and a strong smell of gasoline in the home.

Police later received a tip that Borths may have been the perpetrator and that the motivation for the crime may have been anger related to a domestic situation.

City of Charlevoix Police followed up on the tip with assistance from the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

“I would like to thank all of the agencies who assisted in this investigation, including the Michigan State Police and the Secret Service, as well as Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI,” City of Charlevoix Police Chief Gerard Doan said.

A search warrant was obtained for Borths’ cell phone records including cell tower locations. These records indicated that he was in the May Street area at the time of the incident.

A witness initially supplied an alibi for Borths, but the witness later changed his story and admitted that he drove Borths to May Street and dropped him off. When leaving the vehicle, with a rum bottle smelling of gasoline in his hand, Borths reportedly said that he was “going to take care of business.”

The witness said he then drove further down May Street and waited to pick up Borths. When Borths returned to the vehicle a short time later, he was out of breath and admitted that he had thrown the bottle through a window.

Borths was arraigned this morning and bond was set at one million dollars.

The assault with intent to murder charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison and charge for sending an explosive has a maximum of 20 years in prison.

A probable cause conference in the matter is scheduled for Sept. 15 and a preliminary examination for Sept. 22.

At this point, the charges against Borths are merely allegations and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Mancelona Man Charged in Mt. McSauba and AmericInn Break-Ins

Johnny Ray Rossman, 37, Mancelona, was charged yesterday with safe breaking, two counts of breaking and entering with intent to commit a larceny, two counts of larceny in a building and two counts of malicious destruction of personal property $200 or more but less than $1,000.

These charges relate to break-ins at the Mount McSauba ski lodge and the AmericInn Lodge and Suites in Charlevoix Township on July 19, 2020.

Rossman was apprehended yesterday in Mancelona and the court set his initial bond at $200,000.

According to a police affidavit filed in the matter, employees of the children’s summer camp held at Mt. McSauba reported for work on the morning of Monday, July 20 and discovered that someone had broken in through a window, caused damage to items, including a safe, and stole items including an ATV, computer equipment and a case of binoculars.

That same morning, according to the affidavit, employees at the AmericInn found that someone had gained entry to a hotel room and the laundry room by cutting a hole in and removing window screens.

The Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office investigated and, with the help of citizen witnesses, discovered that it appeared the perpetrator had left Mt. McSauba on the ATV after the burglary there, headed north on Waller Road and then went to the AmericInn on US 31 North.

Police found evidence of the Mt. McSauba theft along that path.

At the room that was entered at the AmericInn, police found five pairs of the binoculars that had been taken from Mt. McSauba.

In August, responding to a tip, police located the stolen ATV at a residence in Hayes Township, leading to the identification and charging of Rossman.

Safe breaking is a felony with a maximum sentence of life in prison. Breaking and entering with intent to commit larceny is a felony with a maximum of 10 years in prison. Larceny in a building is a four-year felony and malicious destruction of person property $200 or more but less than $1,000 is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

Any sentences for the offenses would likely be served concurrently. The charges against Rossman are merely allegations and he is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.

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Man Charged With Murder Found Not Competent to Stand Trial

The criminal charges against Paul Henry Crest, 83, Bay Township have been dismissed as Crest was found not competent to stand trial.

According to an affidavit filed with the district court, on March 15, 2020, police were called to a home in Bay Township where they found a woman with five apparent gun shot wounds and another with two gun shot wounds. The first was pronounced dead at the scene and the second taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Crest was arrested and charged with open murder, assault with intent to murder and using a firearm during the commission of a felony. Following a request by Crest’s defense counsel, the court ordered that he be evaluated relative to competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility (insanity).

At a competency hearing held on April 28, 2020, the district court received a report from the Center for Forensic Psychiatry indicating that Crest was not competent to stand trial and not capable of being restored to competency within 18 months, the legal limit to keep a criminal case pending under such circumstances.

As such, the court ruled Crest to be incompetent and directed Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof to file a petition for mental health treatment, a procedure where the probate court may order a person to be hospitalized.

On June 1, 2020, Crest was evaluated by a doctor who found that he did not fit the statutory definition of a person “requiring treatment” because though he suffers from dementia, he was not homicidal or suicidal on the day of the evaluation.

Based on this opinion, the request for medical treatment was denied. Another attempt by Telgenhof to have Crest admitted to a psychiatric hospital was similarly denied because dementia does not meet the statutory criteria required for admission.

“This is a hole in our system to be sure,” Telgenhof stated. “We have a person who has committed violent offenses but the law does not require they be in prison or in a secure mental health facility.”

“In this situation the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, working together with the family and their attorney, were able to find appropriate placement through appointment of a public guardian (on July 9) in probate court but this is not how it should have to work, in my opinion.”

“I want to give special thanks to Sheriff Chuck Vondra, Jail Administrator Derek Gaylord and the staff at the Charlevoix County Jail. They have had this defendant in their jail for three months and he is a person who requires special care and they have gone above and beyond while we tried to find an appropriate placement,” Telgenhof said.

Telgenhof said that he has written to area legislators and state legislative leaders asking that they consider changing the laws for these types of situations.

“A person who commits a violent act like this should be required to go to a secure state-run facility. To me that seems obvious,” Telgenhof said. “In this situation, the family’s attorney and the state were left to try to persuade private places to take someone in who potentially presented a risk to others. Not surprisingly no private facilities would take him.”

Only when Telgenhof indicated that he was going to dismiss the case which would result in Crest’s immediate release from jail did high level meetings in Lansing result in a placement.

“Everyone was trying their best, within our laws, to figure things out but we kept running into dead ends. Finally, the upper management at the Department of Health and Human Services agreed to craft a solution even though they were not legally required to do so. I hope that the legislature can fix this to provide guidance and support to prosecutors, jails and DHHS.”

 

 

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Statement of Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof Regarding “Stay Home, Be Safe”

In light of Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order of this morning and the actions of Charlevoix County Administration to close the county building, I have directed my co-workers at the Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to stay home until April 13.

As our office performs essential services such as issuing warrants on criminal complaints and attending court hearings involving incarcerated individuals, I will continue to work myself during this time frame. I can be reached at (231) 547-7207 or by e-mail at telgenhofa@ charlevoixcounty.org.

Assistant prosecuting attorneys and our victim advocate will be also available on an as-needed basis to assist police officers and victims during this time. We stand together with law enforcement to keep our county safe during this difficult time.

I hope that all citizens of Charlevoix County will take this executive order very seriously during this critical period. By limiting our contact with others, we can flatten the curve and decrease the demand that will be placed on our health care system.

The best thing that we can do to fight this virus is to stay home and stay safe.

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Bay Township Man Arraigned on Murder Charge

This morning in the 90th District Court, Paul Henry Crest, 82, of Bay Township was arraigned on charges of open murder, assault with intent to murder and two counts of using a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Crest appeared via polycom from the Charlevoix County Jail.

The charges relate to shootings which occurred in Bay Township on Sunday, March 15.

The murder and assault with intent to murder charges both carry a possible maximum penalty of life in prison.

Crest, through his court appointed attorney Christopher Turkelson, stood mute and a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf to all four charges.

Turkelson indicated that he would be requesting psychological evaluations on Crest regarding his competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility.

Judge Angela Lasher scheduled a probable cause conference in the matter for Tuesday, April 7 at 9:30 a.m.

Lasher granted the request of Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof that Crest be held without bond at this time, due to the severity of the charges against him.

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Follow Up on Bay Township Shooting Death

Today the Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office issued charges against an 82-year old Bay Township man for open murder, assault with intent to murder and two counts of using a firearm during the commission of felony.

According to police reports, yesterday on March 15, at his Bay Township residence, the man fatally shot a 51-year old woman five times and also shot a 77-year old woman twice. That woman suffered non-life threatening injuries.

The incident arose, according to reports, over the women taking away the man’s car keys and refusing to let him drive his car. A witness reported that the man suffers from dementia.

“The case is charged at this time as open murder which means that if the case were to go to trial, the jury would be asked to decide whether it is murder of the first or second degree,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “This charge can be modified later based upon new information.”

It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution for a criminal offense that the defendant was legally insane when he committed the acts constituting the offense. An individual is legally insane if, as a result of mental illness or as a result of having an intellectual disability, that person lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the nature and quality of the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. Mental illness or having an intellectual disability does not otherwise constitute a defense of legal insanity.

A defendant has the burden of proving the defense of insanity by a preponderance of the evidence.

If a defendant proposes to raise an insanity defense, they must file a notice of their intention to assert an insanity defense with the court. If this is done, the court shall order the defendant to undergo an examination relating to the insanity claim by the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Saline.

“We do not have enough information on this individual’s mental health condition and history to draw any conclusions at this time,” Telgenhof said. “Based upon the information and resources available to us, the charges that were filed are the best way to proceed at this time. He and the public are safe at this time.”

 

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Four Sentenced to Prison in 33rd Circuit Court

This morning, Judge Roy C. Hayes III sentenced four defendants to the Michigan Department of Corrections on felony cases in the 33rd Circuit Court.

Oscar Guillen-Torres, 33, Charlevoix, was sentenced to 38 to 60 months in prison on his conviction of attempting to make a threat of terrorism.

Guillen-Torres was also sentenced to serve 23 to 60 months on a conviction of carrying a concealed weapon and 148 days in jail on a charge of resisting and obstructing a police officer. Those sentences will run concurrent to the 38 to 60-month sentence.

According to affidavits filed in the cases, Guillen-Torres was stopped by police on October 17, 2019 for running a stop sign in the City of East Jordan. A check disclosed that he had no valid drivers license and an outstanding arrest warrant.

Guillen-Torres resisted the officer who attempted to place him under arrest. After he was in custody, searches of his person and his vehicle led to the seizure of four knives, including one with a blade longer than three inches concealed in Guillen-Torres’ boot.

The terrorism charge was related to continued threats Guillen-Torres made to corrections officers at the Charlevoix County Jail, including statements beginning the day after his arrest, October 18.

Guillen-Torres told an officer that he would regret the day he was born and that the officer’s actions toward Guillen-Torres would cost him a hand, a leg and his eyes “just for fun.” He also told the officer that “I swear…I will cut you into so many little pieces” and that his family would find all of his pieces in the garbage.

The defendant also asked other officers for personal information on the corrections officer and told them it would go easier on them if they helped him. Guillen-Torres referred to the corrections officer as “dead man walking.”

The sentences were at the high end of the sentencing guidelines for Guillen-Torres. Court records indicate that Guillen-Torres has no legal status in the United States and that he will likely be the subject of a deportation hearing. His country of origin is Honduras.

 

Major Jerrel Foreman, 25, Detroit, was sentenced to serve 24 to 240 months with the Michigan Department of Corrections on a charge of possession with the intent to deliver cocaine and 89 days on a charge of attempted resisting and obstructing a police officer. The sentences will run concurrently.

The Joint Operative Law Enforcement Team (“JOLT”), Charlevoix County’s drug team, arrested Foreman on December 14, 2019 when he came with two others to Charlevoix County from Detroit to meet a confidential informant to sell cocaine in the city of East Jordan, according to a police affidavit.

At the Charlevoix County Jail, while booking Foreman, during a search a corrections officer could see a small portion of a bag concealed in Foreman’s anus. The bag was seized and contained 12 grams of crack cocaine, mixed with fentanyl.

According to court records, Foreman had recently been released from federal prison after serving time on a charge for conspiracy with intent to deliver heroin. He was on parole at the time of this offense.

 

Andrew Michael Green, 30, Charlevoix County, was sentenced to serve 18 to 90 months in prison on a conviction for receiving and concealing a stolen motor vehicle, habitual offender second and 87 days in jail for operating a motor vehicle with the presence of a controlled substance.

According to police, on December 16, 2019, Green was driving a stolen vehicle on M-32 while under the influence of drugs including methamphetamine. Police attempted to stop Green who refused to pull over until he lost control of the vehicle, ending up in a ditch.

Police seized items from inside the vehicle including a glass tube, possibly used as a pipe, and a syringe.

Green had previously been convicted of four felonies and had served time in jail, Department of Corrections bootcamp and prison.

 

Jeremy John Murphy, 41, Boyne City, was sentenced to 18 to 180 months with the Michigan Department of Corrections with substance abuse services ordered as part of the sentence.

Murphy was convicted of possession of methamphetamine, habitual offender, second, by his guilty plea on March 13.

The Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement team (SANE) received a tip and obtained a search warrant on December 18, 2019 for Murphy’s home in Boyne City. SANE officers seized syringes, baggies, digital scales and other drug paraphernalia, according to a police affidavit filed in the case.

Two of the syringes tested positive for methamphetamine.

Court records indicate that Murphy was previously convicted of three prior drug felonies in the State of Florida from 2006 to 2009.

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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.

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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.

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