One of the most deadly crimes that took place this year was one in which a man allegedly killed his live-in girlfriend, set their house on fire, and then committed suicide weeks later while at the Kent County Correctional Facility.
Scott Allen Hammer was arrested October 23, after he allegedly killed Danielle Scholten-Linderman, 29, at a home on Lincoln Lake Avenue, in Spencer Township, where they had been staying with friends. 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 murder and lodged at the Kent County Jail. He was found dead in his cell on December 10.
In other deadly crime news, a former Sand Lake man was found guilty and sentenced in May to life in prison in the double slaying of an Eaton County couple.
Christopher Allen Perrien, 39, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the deaths of Michael Greene, 62, and his wife, Terri, 46.
Michael Greene was a retired state police detective. He had been shot five times, and his body was reportedly posed. His wife’s body was found in the pond behind their home.
Perrien reportedly committed the murders while out on work release. He was convicted and sentenced on a property crime on September 1, 2011 in Eaton County, and was granted work release by the court, despite a long criminal history. He had lied to the court about having a job.
In an ongoing story known to many longtime area residents, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision last spring affirming the death penalty for Marvin Charles Gabrion II, convicted in 2002 in the 1997 kidnapping and drowning death of 19-year-old Rachel Timmerman, of Cedar Springs.
The Court upheld the conviction and sentencing 12-4.
Although Michigan does not have the death penalty, Gabrion was sentenced to death by lethal injection, because Rachel’s body was found on federal land, in the Manistee National Forest. Rachel’s 11-month-old daughter, Shannon Verhage, was with her at the time of her disappearance, and has never been found.
The family of another area woman killed by an estranged boyfriend in 2012 found justice in November. Robert Michael Munsell, 30, of Ionia, pled guilty to second-degree murder in her death of his former girlfriend, Julie Danielson, 31, of Pierson. 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.