web analytics

Tag Archive | "Chris Becker"

No charges to be filed in Grattan shooting

By Judy Reed

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker issued a statement this week saying that the homeowner who shot a man who was attacking him did so in self-defense and no charges will be filed against him. 

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene of the shooting in the 7300 block of Parle Avenue in Grattan Township about 1:32 a.m. August 12. Deputies arrived on scene and located two victims with gunshot wounds—one was lying on the ground outside with a gunshot to his arm; the other was inside with a gunshot to the abdomen. A jeep was parked out front and quite a few people were in the yard. Jacob Vanenk, a 22-year-old male from Lowell, was transported to the hospital with nonlife threatening injuries. The second victim, Robert Morgan, a 44-year-old male from Belding, was transported to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.

According to Becker, the incident started earlier in the evening. Morgan owned a vacant lot nearby that had a fire pit, and his 20-year-old son was having a bonfire and party there. Witnesses stated that Morgan had driven over there in his jeep, which was quite loud, and had been giving people at the bonfire rides in it until quite late, and was revving his engine and driving rapidly down the dirt roads of the neighborhood. A video clip shows that to be the case. Evidence showed that he had been drinking.

The woman who lived at the home where the shooting occurred noted that Morgan went by her home several times that night, “flying around the corner,” and sending dirt and rocks flying toward her home. Her husband and child were already sleeping. Morgan had returned to his home, so the woman went there and told him his driving was throwing rocks at her home and asked him to stop. He immediately became combative and called her “trailer trash b—“ and threatened to “F*# her up,” so she went home. As she was leaving, he told her he was going to follow her home but she didn’t believe him. Five minutes later he turned up in her yard with his jeep as she sat outside on her steps.

According to witnesses, Morgan went over to the bonfire right after the woman left his house and asked people to go with him to confront someone who had complained about his jeep being loud. At least two people said that Morgan told them he was going to “whoop some ass.” 

Morgan drove his jeep directly up to the front door and was no more than 10 feet away from it. Jacob Vanenk, Morgan’s nephew, said that his uncle began an argument with the lady who was sitting outside. Another witness said he was screaming in her face and the lady got upset and went inside.

The woman went in and woke up her husband, who had been asleep since 9 p.m. She told him about the man outside threatening to “whoop everyone’s ass.” He got up and went outside to see a jeep running in his front yard next to his porch, and three men standing in the yard, with the oldest one (Morgan) “freaking out.” The man was calling his wife names, and the husband told Morgan to settle down. He also told his mother, who was staying at the home, to call 911. Morgan then began threatening the husband, and moved toward the house, so the husband, who is an Army veteran and valid CPL holder, then went inside to get his .40 caliber handgun.

The man took the gun outside and told the three to leave or he would shoot them. Instead, Morgan called him a name, told him he wasn’t leaving, and then rushed him. The two fell into the house, with Morgan putting the man into a headlock while trying to grab the gun. The man’s wife jumped on top of Morgan, trying to get him off her husband. 

The man decided he had no other option except to shoot Morgan since his 9-year-old daughter was sleeping in another room and he was being attacked in his own home.

Vanenk said he went to the doorway to get his uncle off the man, then heard a gunshot and felt something on his arm and saw blood running down his left arm, where he had been shot. 

The autopsy showed that a single bullet had passed through Morgan’s abdomen, and then struck Vanenk. Morgan died a few hours later at Spectrum Health. The autopsy showed his blood alcohol level at .12.

“This was an incredible tragedy,” wrote Becker. “One person is dead, another, who from the evidence presented to this office, did nothing more than go with his uncle to the home, and who may have tried to stop his uncle…was shot in the arm. This is a lesson in what can happen when an individual consumes too much alcohol; under normal circumstances Mr. Morgan would most likely not have acted the way he did that night.” 

Becker said that Morgan’s outbursts and his rushing the man in his own home, gave the man little choice but to fire his weapon. “Under the circumstances in this case, his belief that he needed to use deadly force to protect himself and his family was both honest and reasonable. No charges will be issued in this matter.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on No charges to be filed in Grattan shooting

Charges denied in Sand Lake threats case

By Judy Reed

The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office has denied charges in the case of Nelson Township resident Scott Britton confronting Tom Norton, the President of the Village of Sand Lake. 

Britton is the husband of Robyn Britton, the Supervisor of Nelson Township. Both Robyn and Norton are running for the Nelson Supervisor seat in next Tuesday’s election, and tensions are running high in the community. 

The confrontation occurred the evening of Wednesday, July 18, after Scott Britton was made aware that someone had put used toilet paper on his wife’s office door. Nelson Township and the Village of Sand Lake share offices in a municipal building there.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 100 block of W. Lake Street sometime after 8:15 p.m. on the night of July 18, on the report of threats/assault.

Norton said he had just gotten back from Indiana that day and was at a resident’s home, speaking with him outside about an upcoming tree removal, when a vehicle pulled up and a man got out and yelled, “Are you Thomas Norton?”

“I said yes and he then violently moved towards my direction and stated, ‘I’m Scott Britton and I’m going to %$#@ kill you,” Norton later wrote in an application for a personal protection order. “He then raised his hand and pointed it toward me. I was 98 percent certain he was going to do something. He then screamed, ‘Did you S#$% paper my wife’s door Tuesday night?”

Norton said he told him no, that he was in Indiana. He said that Britton told him he didn’t believe him, that he was a liar, and stated again he was going to kill him. Norton then began to record the conversation as Britton moved away, and told him again that he was in Indiana and could prove it. Britton then yelled that Norton would need a restraining order when he proved he did it. He then left.

Norton pressed charges against Britton, saying he had concerns for the safety of his family.

Norton gave the Post a copy of a receipt showing he was in Indiana when he said he was, but Robyn Britton said she actually discovered the used toilet paper on her door the morning of July 12, not the day before the confrontation. She said her husband didn’t know when it occurred, because she didn’t tell him about it. Instead, she said someone in the office mentioned it to him on July 17, thinking he knew. Then her husband saw Norton outside on the night of July 18 and confronted him.

Robyn didn’t report the occurrence initially. She said the only people that could have done it would have needed a key—and that would mean they would have been a member of the staff of either Sand Lake or Nelson Township, the police department, or the fire department. “I was just hoping to get through all of this to the election. The date couldn’t come soon enough for me,” she said.

But after the confrontation occurred between her husband and Norton, she told one of the detectives at the Kent County Sheriff’s Office about all that had been occurring recently: the unproven accusation of her interfering in Sand Lake’s search of a Village clerk; the cease and desist letters sent by Norton’s attorney to four women, including herself, demanding that they retract statements made about him; the toilet paper on her door, etc. “I wanted them to understand why Scott had gotten so mad and I wanted it on file in case anything else happened,” she said. She also said that she couldn’t prove who put the toilet paper on her door.

Norton said he would also like to find out who did it, and would be willing to take a lie detector test to prove he didn’t do it.

On Tuesday, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker told the Post that charges in the incident between Scott Britton and Tom Norton had been denied. “From our review of the report there were no punches thrown, no physical contact, the most physical action described in the report was a ‘hand out in a pointing fashion.’ Words were exchanged, but there is not enough here to file any sort of assault charges under these circumstances,” he said.

Norton was notified by the detective on the case. “I can understand not pressing charges because they think he’ll calm down after the election, but I’m still concerned about my family,” he said. “There was enough in the report for me to get the PPO.”

He also will be glad to see the end of the election. His supporters have told him of other people demanding that they take his signs down out of their yards. “We have lost 36 signs in the last 24 hours,” he said.

Robyn Britton said she hasn’t had anything to do with that. “No one in my family has touched a Tom Norton sign. I feel bad for him about that. I know how expensive they are and wouldn’t want someone touching mine,” she said.

See results of next Tuesday’s election in next week’s Post.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on Charges denied in Sand Lake threats case

Admiral robber offered plea deal


By Judy Reed

Jacob Abraham Savickas

Jacob Savickas, 33, the man who robbed the Cedar Springs Admiral gas station on July 27 and a string of other businesses here in Michigan and Ohio (including two banks) in the days that followed, has been offered a deal by the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker, if Savickas accepts the deal, he will plead guilty to a bank robbery charge as a third-time offender and two other felony cases, which have yet to be decided. In exchange, prosecutors will dismiss all the other charges he faces in Kent County. The bank robbery charge involves the Independent Bank on Plainfield Ave, which he robbed on August 2.

Federal authorities have also agreed not to pursue charges for the bank robbery.

As of press time Wednesday, Savickas had not yet made a decision.

Savickas started his crime spree Wednesday, July 26, when he is suspected of an unarmed robbery of the J&H Mobil gas station at 4404 Clyde Park Ave., Wyoming. He then robbed the Admiral gas station on the corner of Main and Muskegon Street in Cedar Springs the next day, Thursday, July 27.

Police found him at the rest stop on US-131 near 10 Mile Rd., but after a brief foot chase, he got back into his car and sped away. Police pursued him, but terminated the chase on 10 Mile Rd. The Admiral clerk had reportedly told police that he had a small child with him.

Savickas drove to Indiana later that day, and is suspected of robbing two more gas stations that day in South Bend—the Marathon gas station on W. Western Ave, and Low Bob’s, 4505 N. Ameritech Dr.

The next day, Friday, July 28, Savickas is suspected of committing an unarmed bank robbery at the Beacon Credit Union, 820 North Broadway, in Peru, Indiana. On Tuesday, August 1, Savickas was back in Michigan, and is suspected of robbing the Next Door Food Store at 4616 Alpine Ave., N.W., where he struck the clerk with his vehicle. He is also suspected of robbing the Independent Bank, 3090 Plainfield Ave NE on Wednesday morning August 2.

Savickas was arrested at a Grand Rapids hotel on August 9 by the FBI Fugitive Task Force.

He is still lodged in the Kent County Correctional Facility on 10 charges in three different courts, including bank robbery, multiple counts of larceny from a person, fleeing and eluding a police officer, parole absconder, and being a habitual offender.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Admiral robber offered plea deal



Get Your Copy of The Cedar Springs Post for just $40 a year!