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Tag Archive | "Rachel Timmerman"

Year in Review: Crime


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.

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.

 

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Court overturns Gabrion’s death sentence


Marvin Gabrion

By Judy Reed

A man found guilty of killing a Cedar Springs woman has been given a chance to escape his death sentence.

Marvin Gabrion, 57, was convicted in 2002 for the 1997 kidnapping and drowning death of Rachel Timmerman, 19, of Cedar Springs. 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.

On Wednesday, August 3, a federal appeals court upheld his conviction but overturned the death penalty on the grounds that the trial judge, Robert Holmes Bell, should have allowed lawyers to tell the jury during the sentencing phase in 2002 that Gabrion would not have faced death if he had been tried in a state court.

Rachel and Shannon Timmerman

The opinion also noted that Bell dismissed three jurors who were against capital punishment but had said they could put that aside and apply the law.

Rachel and her 11-month-old daughter Shannon disappeared on June 3, 1997, when an unidentified man picked them up at Rachel’s father’s home in Cedar Springs. She said she would be home in a couple of hours, but was not seen again until her body was found weighted down by cinder blocks at the bottom of Oxford Lake, in Newaygo County, on July 5, 1997. The baby was never found.

Prosecutors believe Gabrion murdered Rachel to keep her from testifying that he raped her the previous fall. The rape trial was set to begin within days of her disappearance.

According to Wednesday’s ruling, the sentencing phase must start again from scratch unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the appeal.

Rachel’s father, L.C. “Tim” Timmerman, was not surprised by Wednesday’s turn of events. “I think this kind of thing takes forever,” he said, referring to the years of appeals the family has faced. “But I do think the jury did the right thing.”

Timmerman and his brother, John, have written a book that tells the story of Rachel and Shannon’s disappearance and Gabrion’s subsequent arrest called The Color of Night. The book can be bought at Schulers, or ordered from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. He will be doing a book signing in September at the library in Howard City. Watch the Post for more details.

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