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.

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Drunk Driver and Drug Dealer Get Prison Terms

This afternoon in the 33rd Circuit Court, Jeffrey Thomas Rust, 60, Kalamazoo was sentenced to 24 to 60 months in prison for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, third offense.

On May 24, 2019, Rust was driving at approximately 3:00 a.m. on US 31 in Hayes Township and crossed the fogline. Michigan State Police stopped his vehicle, administered field sobriety tests and discovered Rust had a blood alcohol level of .102, according to a police affidavit filed in the case.

Though the conviction was actually Rust’s sixth conviction for drinking and driving, the third offense notice in this case is the highest notice provided in Michigan law.

The maximum penalty for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, third offense is five years in prison.

“This was a sentence where the court correctly focused on protection of the public,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “A person who has been convicted of drunk driving five times before has shown they cannot be trusted not to drink and drive. The only way to keep the public safe, unfortunately, is to lock them up.”

Also this afternoon, Judge Roy C. Hayes III sentenced Kyle Spencer Rusch, 24, Cadillac, to 51 to 240 months in prison. Rusch was convicted of selling nine grams of methamphetamine to a confidential informant in East Jordan on April 26, 2019.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Rusch drove from Cadillac to East Jordan where he sold $450 worth of methamphetamine. Police searched the vehicle Rusch was in and seized an additional 19.2 grams of methamphetamine.

“With respect to the drug case, I commend the work of Sheriff Chuck Vondra and the Joint Operative Law Enforcement Team (“JOLT”),” Telgenhof said. “They have been instrumental in helping keep these dangerous drugs out of Charlevoix County. This defendant had been buying meth from the Grand Rapids area and bringing it up into our county.”

Telgenhof continued, “We are very fortunate to have our own drug team. Not many other counties our size, if any, are able to utilize this type of resource.”

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Second Man Sent to Prison for Eveline Township Property Destruction

This morning in the 33rd Circuit Court, Terry Lee McCall, 48, East Jordan, was sentenced to 18 to 180 months in prison for an incident that occurred in Eveline Township in September 2018.

Judge Roy C. Hayes issued the sentence. In December, Hayes had sentenced McCall’s co-defendant Burton David Cortez to 38 to 90 months in prison for the same incident. Cortez was also convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon.

McCall had pleaded guilty to attempted malicious destruction of property $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 with a habitual offender, fourth enhancement. The maximum penalty for the offense was 15 years in prison.

According to an an affidavit signed by police in the matter, on September 14, 2018, following a property line dispute earlier in the day, two individuals were attacked by McCall, Cortez and two others. Cortez used a knife to slash one victim’s tires and stab him while McCall punched him and attempted to pull the victim out of his vehicle.

All four co-defendants combined to cause over $4,000 in damage to the victim’s car, resulting in the malicious destruction charge. Judge Hayes also ordered McCall to pay $4,434.89 in restitution jointly with Cortez.

A misdemeanor assault charge was dismissed as part of a plea agreement, as was the original malicious destruction of property charge.

At sentencing, Hayes noted that McCall had already served two prior prison terms. Court records show that those terms were for prior convictions for breaking and entering an unoccupied building and breaking and entering with intent.

McCall was in prison on and off from 1994 to 2011 due to those sentences and subsequent parole violations. He was on probation in the 90th District Court at the time he committed the malicious destruction of property offense.

In a sentencing memorandum filed with the Court, Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof quoted from the pre-sentence report prepared by the circuit court probation department which termed McCall’s actions as a “convict mentality of righting wrongs or perceived wrongs via force and violence.”



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East Jordan Man Gets Prison for Sexual Assault on Child

Lowell Jay Bavers, 69, East Jordan was sentenced to 16 to 24 months in prison this morning by Judge Roy C. Hayes III in the 33rd Circuit Court for Charlevoix County.

Bavers had pleaded no contest to Criminal Sexual Conduct, Fourth Degree on July 18, 2019. He was originally charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct, First Degree.

As part of the no contest plea, the Court reviewed an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case to establish a factual basis. The affidavit indicated that on many occasions the Defendant had sexually assaulted an eleven-year-old child at his home in the City of East Jordan.

The victim addressed the Court during the sentencing hearing and told the Court the impact that the incidents had on her and her family.

“I was so glad that she was able to speak in court. I know it was not an easy thing for her to do but she was so brave and it was very powerful,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said.

“While the Defendant will not be spending the rest of his life in prison as he would have if convicted as he was originally charged, he was held accountable for his actions and this young lady and her family did not have to go through a trial which could have caused additional pain and trauma. He will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.”

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Charlevoix Man Gets Prison in Strangulation Case


This morning in the 33rd Circuit Court, John Victor Cannon, Jr., 57, Charlevoix was sentenced to serve 24 to 60 months in prison.

Cannon had pleaded guilty on June 28, 2019 to attempted assault by strangulation, a felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and domestic violence, a misdemeanor. He was originally charged with assault by strangulation, a ten-year felony.

According to an affidavit filed by police in the case, on January 23, 2019, Cannon assaulted the victim by grabbing her by the neck, backing her into a wall and telling her that he would kill her if she called police. The assault occurred in front of the victim’s three children. She called police and was taken to the emergency room for medical treatment for her injuries.

Cannon had been previously convicted of domestic violence on May 8, 2018 and was on probation for that offense at the time he committed this offense.

The defendant wrote a letter to the court indicating that he was intoxicated at the time of the offense and had been struggling with fits of anger.

The sentencing guidelines called for a minimum sentence of between 12 months in county jail to 24 months in prison. The probation and parole department recommended a county jail term but Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof argued for a prison term because of the egregious nature of the defendant’s actions.

Telgenhof read a letter written by the victim, who was present in the courtroom. In the letter she outlined years of abuse at the hands of the defendant and the harm caused to her and her children by the defendant’s actions.

In arguing for a prison sentence, Telgenhof also noted the defendant was not remorseful, was not a good candidate for rehabilitation and presented an ongoing threat to the victim.

Judge Roy C. Hayes III sentenced Cannon at the high end of the sentencing guidelines, thus Cannon will be eligible for parole in 24 months but could serve a sentence as long as the five-year maximum.

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Charlevoix Man Gets Prison Sentence

Christopher Milan Kroll, 40, Charlevoix, was sentenced yesterday to 16 to 24 months in prison by Judge Roy C. Hayes III in the 33rd Circuit Court.

Kroll had pleaded guilty on April 9 to two counts of resisting and obstructing police officers and operating while impaired.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, on December 16, 2017, Charlevoix City Police Officer James Schlappi observed a vehicle traveling on Petoskey Avenue driving erratically and clocked at 68 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Schlappi pulled the vehicle over and encountered the driver, later identified as Kroll, who smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech. Kroll refused to take field sobriety tests or a preliminary breath test.

Kroll was arrested and attempted to keep the patrol car door from being closed and removed one of the handcuffs from his wrist. Once at the Charlevoix County Jail, Kroll struggled with, bit and spit upon corrections officers and physically prevented his blood from being drawn at the hospital despite a search warrant.

While this case was pending, Kroll failed to appear for a scheduled court appearance and left the jurisdiction. He was arrested in Kent County on multiple felony charges and sentenced to prison there on December 4, 2018.

Kroll has pending charges in Charlevoix County for absconding while on bond, possession of marijuana, driving while license suspended and having an open intoxicant in a vehicle. Prosecutors are seeking to add charges for possession of heroin and cocaine.

The sentence given Kroll was the maximum sentence that could be given by the court on a resisting and obstructing charge. All three of Kroll’s sentences will run concurrently.

“This Defendant had seven prior misdemeanors and 19 prior felony convictions,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “He placed officers and hospital personnel at risk. I was glad that the court focused on safety of the public in fashioning a sentence that will protect the people of this county.”

“We filed the absconding charge because people cannot just leave while on bond, commit more crimes and not have any consequence.”

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Rex Allen Bartholomew III, 28, of East Jordan was sentenced this morning in the 33rd Circuit Court to 28 months to 15 years in prison for possessing methamphetamine.

Bartholomew was on parole at the time of this offense for drug convictions in Emmet County in 2012. The prison sentence in Charlevoix County will run consecutively to any time Bartholomew receives as part of his parole violation.

According to an affidavit filed by police in the case, on September 20, 2018, Bartholomew tested positive for methamphetamine in a routine test drug test given by his parole agent. Officers then went to Bartholomew’s home in the City of East Jordan and conducted a search where they found methamphetamine.

Bartholomew has six prior felony and five prior misdemeanor convictions, including breaking and entering with intent and unlawful driving away of an automobile.

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Justin William Hillard, 25, Boyne City, was sentenced to 38 to 120 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $100,000 in restitution for crimes committed in Boyne Valley Township on July 16, 2018.

Hillard pleaded guilty on November 30, 2018 to malicious destruction of property $20,000 or more and two counts of breaking and entering a building with intent to commit a larceny.

According to an affidavit filed by police in the case, Hillard broke into two homes and an outbuilding in Boyne Valley Township in July of 2018 and in one of the homes, he destroyed or damaged fixtures, appliances and furnishings totaling $97,813.88 in damages.

In another home, he broke in and stole tools and electronics and in the outbuilding, he stole a brand new lawn mower. He was ordered to pay restitution totaling $2,113.24 related to these offenses.

No one was at home at the time of Hillard’s actions.

Police discovered Hillard was the perpetrator by lifting and processing fingerprints which were identified as Hillard’s. He lived in the same neighborhood as the homes he ransacked.

Hillard was on felony bond out of Roscommon County at the time he committed these offenses.

“This was a very serious crime where these victims not only had their property damaged or stolen, they had their peace of mind taken away and as one of the victims wrote the court, they lost their sense of safety and tranquility they felt in their home,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said.

“This case was solved due to excellent police work by the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office with the spotting and collecting of evidence and interviews with the Defendant. This was an excellent team effort by Sergeant Fred Hasty, Detective Ben Speigl and Deputy Cody Wheat.”

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Burton David Cortez, 39, East Jordan, was sentenced to 38 to 90 months in prison on charges of malicious destruction of personal property $1,000 to $20,000 and assault with a dangerous weapon today in the 33rd Circuit Court.

The offense occurred on September 14, 2018 in Eveline Township. Cortez had just been released from prison on December 25, 2017 after spending over 17 years in prison on convictions of assault with intent to commit sexual penetration and being a prisoner in possession of a weapon.

In this incident, according to an affidavit filed in the case, Cortez and a neighbor became involved in a disagreement over property lines and Cortez and other individuals approached the neighbor and another man with Cortez carrying a knife and a “Maglite” style flashlight. The other men carried large wrenches.

Cortez and the other men slashed the tires of one of the victim’s car to immobilize the vehicle, then assaulted the man with a knife, causing scars the victim showed Judge Roy C. Hayes III in the courtroom during the sentencing.

Hayes also ordered Cortez to pay $4,434.89 in restitution.

“This was a very scary situation for these residents,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “A simple disagreement over property lines in a remote part of the county resulted in a situation where a completely innocent person was, as he described in court, fighting for his life against a group of weaponized attackers.”

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Man Gets Prison for Strangulation

This morning in the 33rd Circuit Court, Ernest William Alex Sulkowski, Jr., 32, Boyne Falls, was sentenced to 20 to 60 months in prison on a charge of attempted assault by strangulation.

The incident occurred in the City of Boyne City of July 28, 2018. Sulkowski pleaded guilty on November 6, 2018.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, Sulkowski grabbed the victim and began strangling her by using his arm from behind her, squeezing hard enough that she nearly lost consciousness. The victim was 13 weeks pregnant at the time of the assault.

Boyne City Police Department officers responded to the scene and observed the victim’s mouth lined with blood and one of her teeth broken off near the base. They also saw red marks and an abrasion on her neck which appeared slightly swollen.

Sulkowski is a former mixed martial arts fighter and trainer.

“This successful prosecution is the result of a very brave victim, good police work by Officer Kyle Smith who documented the numerous injuries the victim suffered and determined prosecution by (Charlevoix County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney) Kerry Zahner and the work of Victim Advocate Libby Mikulski,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “Strangulation is a very dangerous crime, especially when the victim is pregnant. Even a momentary loss of oxygen and blood supply can be permanently damaging.”

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