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Tag Archive | "murder"

Murder victim found in Nelson Township


Steven Carl Day

Steven Carl Day

The Kent County Sheriff Department is looking for a backpack and some missing clothing that belongs to a murder victim found in Nelson Township.

A man driving on 16 Mile Road near Myers Lake Avenue saw what he thought was a dead deer in the snow off the side of the road Wednesday morning, December 18. After a closer look, he discovered it was a body.

An autopsy done on the body by the Kent County Medical Examiner’s office on Thursday, December 19, determined the cause of death as a homicide.

The Kent County Sheriff Department identified the victim as Steven Carl Day, 54, of Grand Rapids.

Police said the Day was last seen on video surveillance wearing a backpack. Both the backpack and some of his clothes are missing, and police said the items may have been dumped or thrown from a car.

FileFour_1744FileThree_1744Two suspects were initially arrested in the murder and lodged at the Kent County Jail, but they were later released when the Kent County Prosecutor declined to press charges.

Detectives are asking for anyone with information on a found backpack, clothing or Steven Day’s activities just prior to the homicide call Det. Justin DeBoode, Kent County Sheriff Department, at 616-632-6130 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

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Police investigate death of inmate

Scott Hammer, 51, the live-in boyfriend of Danielle Scholten-Linderman, 29, reportedly burned the woman’s farmhouse in Sheridan that they had been renovating, after he allegedly killed her in a struggle in Spencer Township, Wednesday, October 23. Post photo by L. Allen.

Scott Hammer, 51, the live-in boyfriend of Danielle Scholten-Linderman, 29, reportedly burned the woman’s farmhouse in Sheridan that they had been renovating, after he allegedly killed her in a struggle in Spencer Township, Wednesday, October 23. Post photo by L. Allen.

Scott Allen Hammer

Scott Allen Hammer

A man charged with murder for allegedly killing his live-in girlfriend, in Spencer Township, in October was found dead in his cell at the Kent County Correctional Facility Tuesday, December 10.

The Kent County Sheriff Department reported that Scott Allen Hammer, 51, did not come out of his cell for breakfast at 4:48 a.m. When deputies checked on him, they found him dead, in what they said appears to be a suicide. An autopsy will determine the cause of death.

Hammer was arrested October 23, after allegedly killed Danielle Scholten-Linderman, 29, at a home on Lincoln Lake Avenue, in Spencer Township, where they had been staying with family. The couple was staying there while renovating their home in Sheridan. Police said that sometime early that morning a struggle had taken place between the couple that resulted in Danielle’s death. Hammer then fled the home and went to their farmhouse at 3360 Wise Road, in Sheridan, Montcalm County, and set the house on fire. Montcalm County Sheriff deputies then apprehended Hammer without incident.

Hammer was charged with open murder and his case was pending trial at the time of his death.


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Man sentenced in Pierson murder

Left: Julie Danielson. Right: Robert Munsell

Left: Julie Danielson. Right: Robert Munsell

A 30-year-old Ionia man has been sentenced in the death of his former girlfriend, Julie Danielson, 31, of Pierson.

Robert Michael Munsell pled guilty to second degree murder in her death.

Montcalm County Sheriff’s  deputies found the body of Danielson, when they responded to a domestic disturbance on Whitefish Woods Drive in Pierson Township about 3:58 a.m. Saturday morning, November 17, 2012. Munsell had reportedly called it in, saying that he had had an altercation with another man at the home, then left.

Police said his story was inconsistent, and that he was covered with blood. He finally confessed that he went to Danielson’s home and they argued. When she pushed him toward the door to leave, he slapped her and she fell to the floor and went unconscious.

Munsell then said he panicked, went upstairs and got a knife, and then went back downstairs and cut her throat. He said gave her a hug before he left, which explained the blood on him.

Danielson has twin sons, who were not home at the time of the murder.

Munsell was sentenced to a minimum of 37 years and 6 months, and a maximum of 75 years.

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Two charged in death of State Trooper

Michigan State Trooper Paul Butterfield II

Michigan State Trooper Paul Butterfield II

A Luther, Michigan couple is being charged in the death of Michigan State Trooper Paul Butterfield II, who was shot earlier this week, while making a routine traffic stop in Mason County.

According to the Michigan State Police, Trooper Butterfield stopped a vehicle on Custer Road near Townline Road in Mason County about 6:20 p.m. Monday evening, September 9. At 6:23 p.m., a passing motorist called 9-1-1 to report finding Butterfield on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head. Butterfield was airlifted to Munson Hospital, where he passed away during emergency surgery.

Based on information Butterfield relayed to dispatch about the vehicle he stopped, a suspect was developed. Through a series of incidents in the area, troopers located the suspects at a gas station/convenience store in Wellston, in Manistee County, at approximately 8:30 p.m.  When troopers approached, the suspect displayed a handgun, pointing it at one of the troopers. One trooper fired, striking the suspect.

The two suspects were taken into custody.  The male was transported to the hospital with a non-life threatening gunshot wound.

This Facebook photo shows the couple charged with killing a State Trooper.

This Facebook photo shows the couple charged with killing a State Trooper.

The two suspects were identified as Eric John Knysz, 19, and his pregnant wife, Sarah Renee Knysz, 20, both of Luther. Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola announced that charges were filed Wednesday against the couple. Sarah Knysz was arraigned Wednesday in 79th District Court on a two-count felony complaint: Accessory after the fact to the murder of Trooper Paul Butterfield, which is a felony punishable by up to five years confinement and/or a $10,000 fine; and unlawful driving away of an automobile, which is a felony punishable by up to five years behind bars. A preliminary exam was scheduled for her for September 25 at 1 p.m. and bond was set at $250,000 cash or surety. She was remanded to Mason County jail.

Eric Knysz will be arraigned on his charges once  he is returned to Mason County. He is facing four charges: Count one is homicide-murder of peace officer for the murder of Trooper Butterfield, which is punishable by life without parole; count 2 weapons felony firearm for the possession of a firearm during the commission of murder of a police officer, punishable by two years served consecutively after sentence for count 1. Count 3 is carrying a concealed weapon, a felony punishable by up to five years in jail or a $2,500 fine; and count 4, unlawful driving away of an automobile, punishable by up to five  years in jail. He also has been given a notice of habitual offender-second felony offense, which would elevate the penalties to one and a half times the maximum set by the statute. Manistee and Lake Counties are also reviewing possible charges.

Trooper Butterfield joined the MSP in 1999, graduating as a member of the 118th Trooper Recruit School.  He has served at the Manistee and Hart posts.  He is a veteran of the U.S. Army.

Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP issued the following statement Monday evening: “Tonight we lost a hero. The entire MSP family, as well as our greater law enforcement family, mourns alongside the Butterfields. Trooper Butterfield’s sacrifice will never be forgotten; may he rest in peace.”



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House fire results in murder charge

Firefighters on scene of house fire in Sparta Township. Photo from WOODTV.com

A 24-year-old woman died in a fire in Sparta Township Monday, and a man living in the house has been charged with her murder.

Sparta Township firefighters responded to the call at 9045 Vinton, in Sparta Township, about 2:30 a.m. Monday morning, March 12. They found the body of 24-year-old Kori VanHulle, formerly of Kingsley, under rubble in the basement. She reportedly died of smoke inhalation.

VanHulle lived in the basement of the home with her boyfriend, Steven Rish. Three other people also lived in the home: the owner, Paul Preston; Vanessa McCarty, a woman who cared for Preston; and Michael Piranian, 62.

Police believe it was Piranian that set the fire, and he has been arrested and charged with Homicide—felony murder; Arson of a dwelling; and Assault with intent to murder victim.

Michael Piranian

According to a probably cause affidavit submitted by Kent County Sheriff Department, Piranian allegedly told them that he set the fire under the basement stairs, went into his bedroom (also in the basement) and got a 2-1/2 foot long pipe, then headed up the stairs to McCarty’s bedroom. There he proceeded to beat her with the pipe. The woman told police he threatened that he was going to kill her while beating her. The homeowner heard the woman screaming and found the suspect beating her, and wrestled him to get him to stop. Meanwhile he noticed smoke and the smoke alarms going off. All three managed to get out of the house. Firefighters found the suspect hiding behind an outbuilding.

Meanwhile, Rish woke up and saw flames, and tried to help VanHulle out, but didn’t succeed. Rish made it out but was burned in the fire.

Police noted that Piranian admitted his intention to kill McCarty and Preston and then die himself from the smoke of the fire, and that he did nothing to warn the other two about the fire.

Piranian was arraigned in the 63rd District Court and his bond was set at $500,000 cash surety.





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Police still seek clues in Greene murders

By Judy Reed
Last Friday, October 28, marked the one-year anniversary of the murders of Michael and Kathleen Greene, of Pierson. One year, and still no answers.
The bodies of Michael Thomas Greene, 59, and his wife, Kathleen Marie Greene, 56, were found in the basement of their smoldering residence Thursday evening, October 28, 2010 at 3063 Shore Crest Drive, on Big Whitefish Lake, in Pierson Township. The Howard City fire department and Montcalm County Ems responded to the scene about 11:18 p.m. on a fire call and reported finding the two bodies inside the house. The couple had been stabbed to death.
According to Montcalm County Sheriff Bill Barnwell, there are some items that are unaccounted for from within the home (including cash and prescription pain killers) that may have been taken by the suspects.
Barnwell said that officers and investigators with the Montcalm Sheriff Office and the Michigan state police have spent countless hours investigating the deaths. Numerous search warrants have been issued and large amounts of evidence gathered. They discussed the case with both the FBI and ATF. Calls and tips are still coming in, and are being followed up on.
Police are still searching for a larger white vehicle, possibly a SUV-style vehicle, and an individual seen in the area prior to the homicides (see sketch).
To throw another monkey wrench into the mix, another man named Michael Greene and his wife were murdered in Eaton County in September 2011. In that case, Michael Greene, 62, was found inside the home, and his wife, Terry, 46, was found in a pond behind the house. Police don’t know if the murders are connected, or a case of mistaken identity, but plan to check on the case with Eaton police.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Sgt. Tom Goerge of the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office at 989-831-7516, the Sheriff tip line at 989-831-7593, or Silent Observer at 866-774-2345.

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