Charlevoix PA Office Adds Two New Prosecutors

FullSizeRender (00E)Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof announced the hiring of two assistant prosecuting attorneys to the office, Kerry Zahner and Caitlin Borchard.

Zahner is a familiar face in the county courthouse as she prosecuted domestic violence cases in Charlevoix County from 2008 through 2013, first as a special assistant attorney general, then as a special prosecuting attorney.

She was previously an assistant prosecutor in Charlevoix County from 1999 through 2004 and worked in the office again in 2013 and 2014. Most recently, she served as attorney magistrate in the 90th District Court.

Borchard comes to northern Michigan from Saginaw County where she has served as an assistant prosecuting attorney since 2012. She was one of two prosecutors who handled criminal sexual conduct cases in that county.

“We are very fortunate to have these fine, experienced attorneys join the office,” Telgenhof said. “Whenever you have a vacancy, you are concerned about finding the right people, but these two are perfect fits for the office. They are both more than able to hit the ground running.”

“Kerry has a wealth of experience prosecuting domestic violence cases and really being a leader in northern Michigan in that capacity. Caitlin has been trying cases in one of our state’s larger counties so she will make the transition very easily.”

Zahner graduated from Charlevoix High School in 1989, received her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and her law degree from The Capital University Law School in 1996.

Borchard grew up in the Saginaw area and graduated from Alma College and the Michigan State University Law School in 2011. She was an extern for Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan while in law school.

These hires replace former assistant prosecuting attorneys Katrina Martin, who is now the 90th District Court attorney magistrate, and Greg Justis, who is now an assistant prosecuting attorney in Clare County.

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Charlevoix County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Katrina Martin Receives Specialized Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Training to Prosecute Impaired Drivers

Twenty law enforcement officers and seven prosecutors, including Charlevoix County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Katrina Martin completed the two-week Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) School in Lansing from January 24 through February 3.

This training will enhance the attendees’ ability to detect and better prosecute drivers suspected to be under the influence of drugs.

While other states have DRE programs, Michigan is the only state that allows prosecutors to complete the training.

Martin has handled all driving cases involving impaired or intoxicated driving in Charlevoix County since 2012.

“Katrina is one of the leading traffic prosecutors in the state,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “Her commitment and knowledge in the area of impaired drivers are exceptional. Our county is very lucky to have her.”

The training was provided through the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and was not paid for by Charlevoix County.

“This has always been an important area, but with medical marijuana growing in popularity, the ability to detect and prosecute drugged drivers is more critical than ever,” Telgenhof said. “For the first time since 2007, we had over 1,000 road deaths in Michigan. Drugs are a large factor.”

At the DRE training, Martin learned how impairment is detected and observed which will assist her in discovering and utilizing critical information and observations from non-DRE trained officers even when those officers initially failed to see the relevance of that information.

Information such as changes in attitude, levels of consciousness, or ability to carry on a conversation in an intelligent manner, may provide cause to suspect drug intoxication that had been missed initially.

Charlevoix County Corporal Nate Kaminski has also completed the DRE training and is qualified to testify as an expert in drug recognition in courts throughout Michigan.

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Fruge Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

This morning, 33rd Circuit Judge Roy C. Hayes III sentenced Matthew Mark Fruge, 34, of Boyne City to 10 to 15 years in prison on a charge of voluntary manslaughter. This sentence was the maximum sentence Hayes could have given and means that Fruge will be eligible for parole in 10 years.

Fruge was found guilty but mentally ill by a jury on December 8, 2016 following a two-week trial. He was charged with open murder and the jury rejected the prosecution’s request for a murder conviction as well as the defense’s request for a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict.

Counsel for both sides and the judge indicated they believed that the jury had rendered a “compromise verdict” unable to agree unanimously on a murder conviction or an acquittal due to insanity.

At the sentencing hearing, the Court heard from the victim, Jacob Conklin’s wife and mother and a slide show of photographs of Conklin was shown. Conklin’s wife read letters written by Conklin’s four children.

Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof asked the Court for the maximum sentence primarily for public safety reasons, saying that Fruge was a dangerous person due to his combination of mental health and substance abuse issues.

Hayes agreed, saying that Fruge’s substance abuse was a contributing factor leading to Conklin’s death. The judge indicated that the evidence showed that even with his mental health issues, Fruge had shown that he could function successfully in society when he was clean and sober.

The guilty but mentally ill conviction means that during Fruge’s sentence, he will receive mental health treatment from the Michigan Department of Corrections and also from the Department of Mental Health if it is deemed appropriate.

Fruge’s attorney, Bryan Klawuhn, asked the Court to impose a five-year minimum sentence based upon Fruge’s mental health history and argued that substance abuse had nothing to do with Conklin’s death.

In passing sentence, however, Hayes stated that he believed, based upon the evidence at trial, that Fruge had suffered a psychotic break caused by his mental illness exacerbated by the use of illegal drugs.

 

 

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Fruge Guilty but Mentally Ill of Manslaughter

After a day-long deliberations, jurors found Matthew Mark Fruge, 35, Boyne City guilty of voluntary manslaughter . That charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

Fruge was charged with open murder for the killing of Jacob Conklin on October 1, 2015 at Fruge’s home in Bay Township.

The trial began on November 28, featuring seven days of testimony from 15 witnesses, including experts in forensic pathology, forensic psychology and toxicology.

Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof presented 13 witnesses, laying out a case that showed Conklin was a friend of Fruge’s who had just arrived in Charlevoix County, from his Florida home, a day earlier, on September 30.

The two stayed up all night abusing drugs and the next day, Fruge took a butcher knife from his kitchen, went to his driveway and stabbed Conklin ten times in the neck, shoulder and head, severing both carotid arteries and the jugular vein. Conklin died within minutes according to the pathologist’s testimony.

Jurors heard from police officers as well as the victim’s wife and mother.

The defense theory was that Fruge, suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from two tours of duty in Iraq, had a psychotic and manic episode and was legally insane at the time of the offense. They acknowledged that Fruge had caused Conklin’s death. The prosecution countered the insanity defense with evidence that Fruge was intoxicated on a mixture of Ritalin, marijuana and Nyquil.

“This was a very difficult case for all concerned,” Telgenhof said. “These men were friends and their families knew each other. The jury had a lot of testimony to digest and a lot of options as far as a verdict, I thank them for their service. Hopefully this verdict will provide some closure for the families involved.”

“I also want to recognize the professionalism of the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Department, the Michigan State Police and the Boyne City Police Department all of whom were involved in the apprehension of the defendant, processing of the scene, collection and testing of the evidence and testimony at trial.”

Fruge will be sentenced on January 13, 2016 in the 33rd Circuit Court.

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Cop Shooter Sentenced to Prison

James Franklin Cook, 55, of Boyne City, was sentenced to a minimum of 469 months in prison this morning for a crime spree that occurred on May 16, 2015 culminating in a shootout with officers from the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office, Boyne City Police Department and Michigan State Police, where he shot and permanently injured Charlevoix County Sheriff Corporal Fred Hasty.

Cook pleaded guilty to multiple charges committed on that date – assault with intent to murder, resisting and obstructing a police officer causing serious impairment, five counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, first degree home invasion, breaking and entering a building with intent to commit larceny, two counts of unlawful driving away of an automobile and malicious destruction of property.

In his plea hearings, Cook admitted entering onto the property of another to steal one vehicle, spray painting that vehicle to change its appearance, stealing a second vehicle, unlawfully entering into a home where he stole money, guns and ammunition, then engaging in a shootout with police where he shot at officers and wounded Hasty.

Cook was sentenced to serve 285 months to 50 years on the assault with intent to murder charge, 80 months to 20 years on the home invasion, first degree, 80 months to 15 years on the resisting and obstructing charge and 24 months on the felony-firearm charge. All of these sentences will be served consecutively – resulting in a minimum prison term for Cook of 469 months or 39 years and 1 month.

He will receive credit for the 554 days he has served in the Charlevoix County Jail. As a result he will be eligible for parole in the year 2054 when he is 92 years old.

Mark Fruge, the victim of the home invasion and a relative of Cook by marriage, said that he had forgiven Cook for taking his property but that the officers involved would never be able to forget what Cook had done to them. He spoke of the tremendous respect he had for the law enforcement officers involved.

Corporal William Church, one of the officers who Cook shot at, said that as he was the first officer on the scene and Cook was claiming he didn’t have any weapons, as a younger officer he might have walked up to Cook’s vehicle and been shot and killed.

He credited his training, specifically Sheriff Don Schneider and Undersheriff Chuck Vondra, for the recognition that the “tactical position” taken by Cook should cause him concern. Cook had three loaded weapons and a cache of ammunition in the vehicle at the time.

Church said that he considered retirement immediately after the incident and that he sought a job in northern Michigan to avoid circumstances like this.

Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof asked the court to consider the fact that Cook appeared to plan the standoff with police. A Cook family member had filed a court document two weeks before the shooting stating that Cook “had a high contempt for all laws and law enforcement” and that they had “on several occasions heard him say that one day he would get even with several law officers who he felt did him wrong and by saying getting even, I mean he means to kill them.”

Cook drove to the end of Addis Road onto a two-track where he cut the lock off a gate, re-closed the gate then ran to his vehicle where he had his weapons and ammunition while officers arrived.

Circuit Judge Roy C. Hayes III indicated that for the safety of the public he believed that Cook is a person who cannot be free without being a danger. Hayes said that Cook’s actions not only impacted the officers involved but affected our entire community.

The sentencing guidelines provided for a minimum sentence as low as 195 months in prison but Hayes not only imposed the maximum sentence on the assault with intent to murder charge but also exercised his discretion in imposing consecutive sentences.

Cook was also sentenced on the remaining charges but those sentences will run concurrent, or at the same time, with the other charges.

 

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On the passing of Kraag Lieberman

I was so sad to learn of the passing of Kraag Lieberman earlier this week. Kraag was Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney from 1983 to 1992. He was a highly intelligent, highly respected part of our legal community.

Kraag was our E.F. Hutton (sorry to the younger readers who aren’t familiar with those 1980s commercials) – when he talked, people listened. Prosecutors and police officers knew that, when as a defense lawyer, Kraag said there was a problem with a case, they’d better take a close look.

He could be a man of few words but also had a wicked sense of humor. For Charlevoix Rayder sports fans, it is my understanding that he was a tremendous football player.

On a personal level, when I was considering a run for prosecuting attorney, Kraag was one of the very few people whose advice I sought before announcing. As always he provided wise counsel.

It may be an overused phrase but Kraag truly was a pillar of our legal community.

 

 

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PA Telgenhof’s Statement on James Cook Guilty Pleas

 

This afternoon, James Franklin Cook, 54, of Boyne City pleaded guilty to eight felonies – assault with intent to murder, five counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, assaulting an officer causing serious impairment and possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 2, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in the 33rd Circuit Court.

Combining this plea with his prior guilty pleas in this case, Cook pleaded guilty to 13 felonies, including the most serious charge – assaulting with intent to murder Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office Corp. Fred Hasty, with carries a potential sentence of life in prison.

My preliminary scoring of the guidelines discloses that Mr. Cook may have a minimum sentence of up to 40 years in prison.

Mr. Cook pleaded guilty to using a dangerous weapon to assault all of the other officers at the scene,  Boyne City Assistant Chief of Police Kevin Spate, Michigan State Police Trooper Zachary Helton and from the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office Corporal William Church, Sergeant George Robert Lasater and Undersheriff Chuck Vondra.

The plea will result in the same sentencing guidelines as if he were convicted of all charges at trial. It will also give up his automatic right of appeal which he would have had following a conviction at trial.

I cannot stress enough the bravery and professionalism of the officers who were at the scene, those named above and Deputy Travis Williams who placed Cook under arrest. They were faced with a situation that thankfully we don’t see often in northern Michigan – a man with three loaded weapons, waiting for them behind a gate.

Mr. Cook fired first and the officers showed incredible restraint, firing only when fired upon and only in short bursts to stop Mr. Cook. Unfortunately, Corporal Hasty was injured but thankfully he is on the path to recovery and back to work.

I want to also thank all of the officers involved in the investigation – the officer in charge, First Lieutenant Mark Harris of the Michigan State Police, MSP Detective/Sergeant David Hart, Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office Detective/Sergeant Mike Wheat, Deputy Justin Kieliszewski, Boyne City Police Chief Jeff Gaither, Officers Don Sproul, Craig Remsberg, Dan Mercer, Emmet County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Cody Wheat and City of Petoskey Lieutenant David Schultz and Officer Karl Fritz.

Also without naming them, I want to thank the citizens who reported what they observed which led to Mr. Cook’s arrest and prosecution and who were prepared to testify at trial.

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