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Downstate Man Charged With Open Murder In Clare County

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A downstate man was arrested. He is accused of stabbing another man to death in Clare County.

He’s charged with open murder.

It all started in Hamilton Township around noon on Saturday.

That’s when a woman from the area picked up two men.

Deputies say the two men got into a fight and the stabbing began.

Police were eventually called to a home on East Stockwell road in Harrison.

9&10’s Taylor Jones was in court Monday as the suspect was charged and she has our top story on this murder case.

Walter Downing is facing open murder charges after allegedly stabbing James Edwards several times in the head and chest.

“It’s frustrating that we have people coming into our community committing crime, especially violent crime,” says Michelle Ambrozaitis, Clare County Prosecutor.

Deputies say Downing stabbed Edwards, and Edwards tried to get away.

They say he got into the car and drove to a nearby garage where someone called 911, but he died on the way to the hospital.

Monday in court the judge said, “the prosecutor alleges that on July 15 you were in Hamilton Township and that you did murder James Anthony Edwards.”

Downing was charged with open murder and given a $1 million bond.

Downing has a criminal past, which the prosecutor says is a concern.

“We look to see if there is something that’s going to be a risk to the community when we set bond. Clearly he’s charged with killing another individual, so that makes him pretty dangerous to the community and then when you look at his previous criminal conviction, he’s got some pretty serious assault type crimes in his history and he’s a parole absconder, which he already is on parole for serious crimes, so he most certainly is a threat to the community,” says Ambrozaitis.

Ruth Elliott says she was working at a gas station not far from the home that day. Hearing about this frightened her.

“What if the guy came in the store, then everyone else is jeopardized. Crime is picking up! When we first moved here seven years ago there wasn’t that much crime,” says Elliott.

Downing is expected to be back in court later this month.