Charlevoix Man Sentenced to Prison on Weapons Charges

Steve A. Martin, 69, Charlevoix, was sentenced to serve a minimum of 39 months in prison this afternoon in the 33rd Circuit Court. Martin pleaded guilty on March 4 to possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Emmet County Circuit Judge Jennifer Deegan, sitting in Charlevoix County by assignment, sentenced Martin to serve 15 months to five years on the felon in possession charges and two years on the felony/firearm charge.

The felon in possession of a firearm sentences will run concurrent to each other but consecutive to the felony/firearm charge, meaning Martin’s maximum sentence will be seven years in prison, however, he will be eligible for parole after serving 39 months. He received credit for 170 days already served.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, police were informed on October 15, 2021 that Martin had been at the Dunham’s Sporting Goods store in Petoskey talking about purchasing a scope for a rifle he owned. In 2016, Martin was convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon and sent to prison for attempting to run over a police officer with his vehicle.

Based upon the information, on October 18, police obtained a search warrant for Martin’s home and outbuildings where they located and seized 14 firearms, ammunition and parts for additional firearms.

Martin was initially charged as a habitual offender, fourth, because of the felonious assault conviction as well as two prior convictions for attempting to resisting and obstruct a police officer. In pronouncing the sentence, Deegan noted that Martin displayed a disregard for the law that is a threat to society and as such, the sentence focused on punishment and the protection of society.

The case was investigated by the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof.

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Domestic Abuser Sent to Prison

Laurence Joseph Frechette III, 58, Boyne City, was sentenced to serve 18 to 60 months in prison this morning in the 33rd Circuit Court.

On Feb. 10, 2022, Frechette was convicted following a jury trial of aggravated domestic violence, second offense.

Witnesses at trial testified that on November 7, 2020, Frechette assaulted a woman by pushing her into a wall, causing her to suffer a hematoma, abrasions and bleeding. Boyne City police were called and responded to the scene. Frechette had a blood alcohol level of .158%.

In sentencing Frechette to prison, Judge Roy C. Hayes III said that at trial Frechette had concocted a nonsensical and absurd story completely inconsistent with the evidence in the case. The judge observed that at trial the prosecution had presented overwhelming evidence of guilt.

Hayes also observed that Frechette had a long pattern of violent domestic assault directed toward his partners and their children, that he had violated bond while this case was pending and that a report indicating Frechette had narcissistic personality disorder “rings true.”

The judge indicated that the minimum sentencing range called for by the sentencing guidelines (0 to 11 months in jail) was not proportionate to the offense and the offender.

Hayes found that Frechette presented a substantial risk to the community and stated that he was focusing on deterrence and punishment with the sentence.

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Charlevoix Man Convicted of First Degree Child Abuse

After a jury trial that stretched over two weeks and deliberations over two days, a Charlevoix County jury convicted John Paul Fiedorek, 34, Charlevoix, of one count of first degree child abuse and two counts of second degree child abuse today in the 33rd Circuit Court.

The jury heard testimony from doctors who treated a 15-month-old child who was taken to the Charlevoix Area Hospital in September of 2019 with multiple injuries including numerous fractures to his arms and bite marks to his body.

The child was transferred to Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids where he was further treated for his injuries and where doctors discovered rib fractures as well.

The child’s mother testified that the child had been in Fiedorek’s care the day before he was taken to the hospital. Numerous witnesses testified to seeing the child in the days before he was in Fiedorek’s care and not seeing any of the injuries.

The jury heard from two prosecution dental experts who compared photographs of the injuries with dental impressions of Fiedorek and the other people who had been in contact with the victim in the days prior to his hospitalization. Both prosecution experts testified that while they could exclude all of the other impressions from causing the bite mark, they could not exclude the defendant.

One of the experts specifically stated that the defendant had a broken tooth which makes a unique bitemark and this mark was present in the photographs of the bite injury on the child.

The defense called its own dental expert and an expert forensic photographer who attacked the quality of the photograph of the bitemark.

Jurors also heard testimony related to two prior incidents where Fiedorek physically struck children who were not his biological children leaving welts.

“We thank the jury for their consideration and for their verdict,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “Mary Farrell from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office did an excellent job presenting this complex and difficult case. The Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office, and particularly Detective Cody Wheat, as well as the City of Charlevoix Police Department and the Michigan State Police were exceptional in investigating this matter.”

“This case was very difficult because the victim could not tell us what happened. We were only able to achieve justice in this case through the hard work of Mary and the investigators and the witnesses who told what they knew and the jurors who gave their time and attention.”

Fiedorek will be sentenced on April 22. Child abuse in the first degree carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Child abuse second degree carries a maximum of 10 years.

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East Jordan Man Convicted on Drug Charges

After two days of trial and an hour of deliberation, tonight a Charlevoix County jury convicted Mark Allen Ingersoll, Jr., 35, East Jordan of two counts of delivery of cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, possession of a controlled substance and maintaining a drug house.

Ingersoll will be sentenced on March 18, 2021 in the 33rd Circuit Court.

The three cocaine charges usually carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, however, because Ingersoll is a habitual offender, fourth offense, the maximum penalty is life in prison. The other charges carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. The sentences will be served concurrently.

The investigation in the case was conducted by the Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement team (“SANE”) and officers from the Michigan State Police and Emmet County Sheriff’s Office testified at trial.

“I want to thank the jury for their time, attention and consideration in this matter,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. Telgenhof tried the case for the prosecution.

“This was a case with an excellent investigation where the police got a timely search warrant leading to the discovery of critical evidence and conducted interviews on the scene which resulted in admissions which were difficult for the defense to overcome.”

At trial, jurors heard a recorded interview with Ingersoll where he admitted that on Jan. 21, 2020, he had traveled down to Detroit to purchase cocaine and returned with it to East Jordan where he had sold to a number of individuals.

The search of Ingersoll’s residence in the city of East Jordan led to the discovery of more cocaine and suboxone. Witnesses also testified regarding cocaine sales which occurred on Jan. 14 and 21, 2020.

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Boyne City Man Convicted of Domestic Violence

A Charlevoix County jury convicted Laurence Joseph Frechette III, 58, Boyne City, of aggravated domestic violence following a two-day jury trial in the 33rd Circuit Court.

Frechette had been convicted of domestic violence previously so the conviction carries with it a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Witnesses testified that on November 7, 2020, Frechette assaulted a woman by pushing her into a wall, causing her to suffer a hematoma, abrasions and bleeding. Boyne City police were called and responded to the scene and arrested Frechette who had a blood alcohol level of .158%.

The case was prosecuted by Charlevoix County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kerry Zahner.

“Justice was done in this case based upon solid police work by the Boyne City Police Department, Officer John McLeod in particular, and great prosecution by CAPA Zahner,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said.

“We are very fortunate in Charlevoix County to have officers and prosecutors with training and experience in these types of cases. Kerry has specialized in these prosecutions for years and her expertise in leading investigations and prosecution is invaluable.”

Witnesses testified not only to the incident in November but an ongoing pattern of abuse which spanned many years.

Frechette, who had been released on bond, was remanded to the Charlevoix County Jail after the guilty verdict. He will be sentenced by Judge Roy C. Hayes III on March 4, 2022.

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Muskegon Man Sent to Prison on Meth Charge

This morning in the 33rd Circuit Court, Matthew Allen Bays, 38, Muskegon, was sentenced to serve 66 to 240 months in prison for selling methamphetamine to a confidential informant.

Bays had pleaded guilty on December 7, 2021 to delivery of methamphetamine. The offense occurred on June 9, 2021 in the City of Charlevoix.

“The work of the Joint Operational Law Enforcement Team (JOLT) in our county again has led to another drug dealer going to prison,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug that ruins lives and we will continue to vigorously prosecute not only those who sell the drug, but also those who bring this drug into our county.”

Bays had been released from prison only three months prior to selling the drugs in this case. He was previously convicted of four felonies and 16 misdemeanors. This sentence is the third time that Bays has been sentenced to prison.

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Man Convicted of Terrorist Threats Gets 5 to 20 Year Sentence

Judge Thomas G. Power sentenced Jonathon Paul Stewart, 33, Atlanta (MI) to serve 5 to 20 years in prison following his conviction for making terrorist threats and malicious use of a telecommunication device.

Stewart has been in jail since his arrest in June 2021 and will receive credit for the 201 days served.

He was convicted by a Charlevoix County jury after a two-day trial that concluded on December 2.

At trial, three Charlevoix County employees testified that Stewart placed four phone calls to the Charlevoix County building on June 10, 2021, during which he berated and threatened county employees, used obscenities and vulgarities about the employees.

Evidence showed that Stewart was upset because of a show cause order he had received regarding a Friend of the Court case and that an employee would not transfer his call until he gave them his name.

Stewart left a voicemail for one county employee saying, “I guarantee you’re going to want to call a cop because I will be outside waiting for you after work to discuss this with you without a phone in between us.”

In his final phone call of the day, Stewart told a county employee to “put a cop on the phone or I’m going to come down and start shooting,” according to a witness. She testified that later in the call told her numerous times that he was going to come and shoot her.

The employees notified the security officers in the building who took the information from caller ID and were able to identify the call as coming from Stewart’s address in Atlanta. A Montmorency County deputy made contact with Stewart within an hour.

Power handled the case on assignment by the State Court Administrator’s Office because Judge Roy C. Hayes III was recused from the case because one of the people threatened by Stewart worked for the 33rd Circuit Court.

“Two of the victims in this case addressed the Court this afternoon at sentencing. Their words were powerful as they told the judge and defendant how this day and the defendant’s actions had impacted them,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “One of the victims said that she wanted the defendant to know that she was not just some faceless government employee on the line, that she is a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter.”

“Hopefully this sentence will send the message that people can’t make threats like this, those types of things have real consequences for the people receiving the threats and, with this sentence, it will have a real consequence for this defendant.”

Stewart had been convicted of four prior felonies and 17 prior misdemeanors. Power departed downward from the recommended minimum guideline range of 84 to 240 months in prison. He stated he did so because all of Stewart’s prior felonies and most of his misdemeanors occurred in 2012 and prior.

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East Jordan Man Gets Prison on Drug Charges

Archie William Graham, 41, East Jordan, was sentenced to prison today in the 33rd Circuit Court on methamphetamine charges.

Graham was sentenced to 48 months to 20 years on a charge of possession with the intent to deliver methamphetamine for an incident that occurred on May 12, 2021 and 20 months to 10 years on a charge of possession of methamphetamine which occurred on August 18, 2021.

The defendant had pleaded guilty to the charges The two sentences will be served concurrently.

Graham had previously been sent to prison in 2015 for five years for delivery of methamphetamine.

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Boyne Falls Man Sentenced to Prison

Brian James Fortune, 34, Boyne Falls, was sentenced to prison today in the 33rd Circuit Court on two separate cases.

Fortune was sentenced to serve 16 to 24 months, with 91 days jail credit, on a conviction of three counts of resisting and obstructing corrections officers. Fortune pleaded guilty on Nov. 19.

The incidents occurred at the Charlevoix County Jail in March of 2021, while Fortune was serving a sentence after being convicted of another resisting and obstructing a police officer. According to an affidavit filed in the case, Fortune physically resisted and threatened to kill officers and their families on numerous occasions.

Today Fortune was also sentenced to serve 36 months to 10 years on an additional charge of possession of methamphetamine. That offense occurred on Oct. 15, 2021 when he was on bond for the jail offenses.

Judge Roy C. Hayes III ordered that the two sentences be served consecutively.

“With these sentences, the defendant will not be eligible for parole for 52 months,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof. “He was a terror in the Charlevoix County Jail for months and used racial slurs and threats against officers who were doing nothing other than trying to do their job. Then when he was released on bond, he possessed dangerous drugs while driving.”

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Man Sentenced to Prison for Child Sexual Assault

Ryan James Simmons, 36, Atlanta (MI) was sentenced to serve 30 to 90 years in prison for his conviction for first degree criminal sexual assault today in the 33rd Circuit Court.

In pronouncing the sentence, Judge Roy C. Hayes III said this case was “probably the worst case I’ve seen in my years on the bench.”

Simmons pleaded guilty on Nov. 2, 2021 to sexual penetration of a child under the age of 13.

At sentencing, the court heard from the survivor who said that Simmons had sexually abused her from the age of eight to 15 in Boyne City. She said that other children had also been abused by Simmons over the years and asked the court to send Simmons away for the maximum possible because otherwise “nobody will be safe from him, because predators like him don’t stop.”

Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said, “Though this case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mary Farrell, I was privileged to be in the courtroom for sentencing and hear this survivor stand up to the man who tormented her for so long and speak so eloquently and powerfully about her experience. It was very moving.”

The sentencing guidelines called for a minimum sentence of 126 to 210 months in prison, but Hayes exceeded those guidelines, indicating that they did not properly take into account the details of this case including Simmons threatening to kill the victim’s family members in front of her if she ever told anyone about his abuse.

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