Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. EDT
Prosecutor: Nothing reasonable about cop using Taser on teen
DETROIT (AP) — A lawyer for a former Michigan state trooper is defending his decision to fire a Taser at a Detroit teenager who crashed aboard an all-terrain vehicle and died.
Trial opened Wednesday for Mark Bessner. He’s charged with second-degree murder in the death of 15-year-old Damon (Da-MAHN’) Grimes in 2017. It’s the second trial after a jury last fall couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict.
Bessner shot Grimes with a Taser from a moving patrol car as he and a partner pursued the boy at high speed. Defense attorney Richard Convertino told jurors they must find Bessner not guilty if they believe the officer was trying to protect himself.
Bessner says he believed Grimes was armed , but the teen had no weapon.
Prosecutor Matthew Penney told jurors there was nothing reasonable about firing a Taser for a routine traffic offense.
Duggan applauds federal probe into Detroit demo program
DETROIT (AP) — Mayor Mike Duggan is applauding the federal investigation into corruption in Detroit’s demolition program.
Duggan told reporters Wednesday that he’s “glad the feds have made it clear that bid-rigging is not going to be tolerated.”
His comments follow guilty pleas Tuesday by Anthony Daguanno and Aradondo Haskins who said they shared bid information with a subcontractor when putting together demolition proposals for their employer, Adamo Group.
Daguanno received more than $372,000 in return. Haskins got $26,000, including some money when he was hired by Detroit to oversee certain demolition projects.
The convictions were the first from the probe into efforts to eliminate blight in Detroit. Detroit has received $258 million in federal funding since 2013 to tear down vacant structures. More than 17,000 — mostly houses — have been demolished.
Illinois dad and son charged in Michigan body parts probe
DETROIT (AP) — An Illinois man and his son have been charged in Michigan in an investigation of diseased body parts used for research and education.
Federal prosecutors say researchers paid to use cadavers without knowing they had tested positive for infectious diseases. The latest charges are related to an investigation of a Detroit-area man who was sentenced last year to nine years in prison.
Donald Greene Sr. is charged with wire fraud. His son, Donald Greene II, is charged with knowing about the scheme but failing to report it. They were associated with Biological Resource Center of Rosemont, Illinois, which provided the remains to medical professionals for a fee.
The charges were filed last week as a criminal information, which means a guilty plea is expected. The names of lawyers representing the Greenes weren’t immediately known.
Woman gets 10-15 years for abuse death of 14-month-old boy
JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A 25-year-old southern Michigan woman has been sentenced to 10-15 years in prison for the death of a 14-month-old boy she was caring for.
Amber Lynn Reeves of Jackson learned her punishment Wednesday after pleading guilty to manslaughter and child abuse in the Oct. 11 death of Logan Tracy from blunt force abdominal trauma and complications. Reeves was dating the boy’s father at the time.
Reeves apologized in court for killing Logan.
Reeves claimed the boy also was being abused by his father, but police and prosecutors say there’s no evidence indicating anyone hurt Logan except Reeves.
Susan Ziegler, Logan’s grandmother, says that for Reeves “to say she takes full responsibility and in the same breath accuses my son of abuse is despicable. She has shown no remorse.”
Michigan Senate OKs delay to change in teacher evaluations
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate has voted unanimously to delay a key change in a state-mandated evaluation system for teachers and school administrators.
Senators on Wednesday passed bills that would keep intact for at least one more year a requirement that school districts and charter schools base at least 25 percent of a teacher’s evaluation on assessment and student growth data. The component is supposed to rise to 40 percent this academic year.
Under the legislation, the 40 percent factor would start in the 2019-20 schools year. The bills will next be considered by the House.
Supporters, including teacher unions, districts and administrators, say it’s difficult to measure student growth and it’s unfair to base more of an educator’s evaluation on standardized test scores.
Senate Bills 122 and 202: http://bit.ly/2FXrrW4
Bar admits overserving man who killed 5 in wrong-way crash
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Officials say a Kentucky bar has admitted it overserved a man who later killed a Michigan family of five in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 75.
A statement Wednesday from Lexington police says the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Office finalized an agreement with Horseshoes Kentucky Grill & Saloon that calls for the establishment to plead guilty to serving an intoxicated person, pay a $10,000 fine and refrain from selling alcohol May 17-May 26.
The bar served 41-year-old Joey Bailey alcoholic drinks when he was already under the influence.
Bailey then drove south in a northbound lane on Interstate 75. He collided with another vehicle, killing himself and the Michigan family.
County Coroner Gary Ginn has said Bailey’s blood-alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit.
Michigan’s Peters raises $1.9M for re-election campaign
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) — Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan says his re-election campaign raised nearly $1.9 million in the first three months of the year.
Peters said Wednesday it is the largest first-quarter fundraising total for any U.S. Senate candidate in state history. He says his cash on hand is more than $3 million.
The first-term senator is up for re-election in 2020. No Republican has entered the race, though John James — who ran against Sen. Debbie Stabenow last year — is considering whether to challenge Peters.
Peters says 79 percent of his total contributions averaged $50 or less.
Court: No money for pre-trial custody for wrongly convicted
DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan appeals court says a law compensating people who were wrongly convicted doesn’t cover time spent in pre-trial custody.
Davontae Sanford is seeking money for 198 days spent in a juvenile facility before he was convicted and sentenced for murder in 1988. His convictions were overturned after more than eight years in prison, and he was paid $408,000 .
But the appeals court says state law makes no reference to compensating people for being locked up without bond before trial. The time can be substantial. For Sanford, 198 days would be worth an additional $27,000.
The appeals court says the “plain language of the statute is unambiguous.”
Under a 2016 law, someone who is wrongly convicted can get $50,000 for every year in prison.
More charges for Detroit-area man accused of fighting for IS
DETROIT (AP) — Federal prosecutors have added charges against a Detroit-area man who was captured in Syria and accused of providing support to the Islamic State group.
Ibraheem Musaibli is charged with conspiring to provide material support to IS, firing a machine gun and receiving military training. The government says Musaibli was captured by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces last summer and flown to the U.S. He first appeared in court in July .
U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider says the new charges, filed Tuesday, “more fully capture” Musaibli’s alleged conduct while overseas. If convicted, he faces at least 40 years in prison.
A message seeking comment was left for his attorney.
Musaibli’s relatives say he isn’t an IS fighter. They say the 28-year-old U.S. citizen was in Syria to work and study religion.
MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL-CONVICTION INTEGRITY
Michigan attorney general launches Conviction Integrity Unit
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has launched a unit to investigate whether people have been wrongfully convicted of crimes.
Nessel announced Wednesday the Conviction Integrity Unit plans to probe credible claims of innocence. The unit within the AG’s Criminal Appellate Division also seeks to develop efforts to rectify wrongful convictions.
A release says the unit is modeled after one in Wayne County, and officials will work with county prosecutors, law enforcement officials, defense attorneys and innocence clinic projects.
The state unit will be led by Robyn Frankel, an attorney who has been an adjunct professor at Oakland University, University of Michigan and Detroit College of Law.
Nessel says in the release the state has “a duty” to make sure people are guilty of crimes for which they have been convicted.