LANSING MAN SENTENCED TO PRISON

Jonathan Michael Mullen, 27, of Lansing, was sentenced to 24 to 90 months in prison by 33rd Circuit Judge Roy C. Hayes III. Mullen had earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of carrying a concealed weapon and being a habitual offender.

Mullen was arrested on June 11, 2017 when the car he had been driving down Boyne City Road was found upside down in the non-motorized trail being constructed, with Mullen trapped inside. In Mullen’s vehicle, EMTs and police located a pipe typically used to smoke methamphetamine and a 9 mm handgun sitting next to a magazine holding five rounds of ammunition.

With a long criminal record including four prior convictions for delivery of controlled substances, Mullen was on parole while he committed this offense, having just been released from prison earlier in 2017.

Judge Hayes noted that Mullen had also committed many rules violations while in the Charlevoix County Jail including assaulting another inmate.

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Case Resolved With Man Accused of Cutting City of Charlevoix Trees

Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof announced that he had offered Michael Walter Seitz, 48, of Bellaire, TX, a deferred prosecution agreement and that Seitz had accepted on September 12, 2017, resolving the criminal case against Seitz.

Seitz was accused of cutting down trees and undergrowth across from his vacation property on Park Avenue in the City of Charlevoix to improve his view of Lake Michigan. Seitz was charged with malicious destruction of trees and shrubbery greater than $20,000.

In accepting the deferred prosecution agreement, Seitz admitted that, “at his direction, trees and/or undergrowth belonging to the City of Charlevoix were cut down.” He agreed to pay the City $30,000 on or before March 15, 2018 or the charge against him will be re-filed.

“This agreement compensates the victim, the city, for its loss and sends a message to other property owners that this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” Telgenhof said. “This was accomplished without the necessity of a trial which can be unpredictable.”

Telgenhof said that the City was not involved at all in the negotiation but that news of the agreement was provided to Chief Gerard Doan, to City Manager Mark Heydlauff and the City Council.

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Canadian Woman Sentenced to Prison for Second Time for Second Identity Theft on Same Charlevoix County Victim

This morning in the 33rd Circuit Court, Judge Roy C. Hayes III sentenced Jewel Elizabeth Browe, 65, to serve a sentence of 38 months to 15 years in prison on a charge of identity theft.

Browe was previously convicted of two counts of the same crime in Charlevoix County back in 2013, involving the same victim. She was sentenced to 20 months in prison but instead completed the Department of Corrections’ SAI “bootcamp” program and was released early.

For this crime, Browe was stopped by police in Bangor, Michigan for a traffic violation. As she was a Canadian citizen who had been deported on numerous occasions, she did not give police her own identification but instead produced a driver’s license containing the identifying information of another woman, a Charlevoix County resident.

Browe then failed to appear on the traffic ticket which resulted in the suspension of the driver’s license of the Charlevoix County victim. The same victim’s information was used to order cable service in Bangor, Michigan which resulted in collection actions against the victim.

The victim, a former friend, took Browe into her home in 2012 at which time Browe stole personal items with the victim’s identifying information and used them to pass herself off as the victim. This was the basis for the 2013 charges.

“Both cases came about through the hard work of Charlevoix County Detective Mike Wheat,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “Hopefully this defendant will realize that she needs to stop victimizing people. At least she will not be able to do that over the next three years while she is in prison.”

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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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