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