Man gets 25-60 years for 1989 killing of neighbor

A man has been sentenced to 25 to 60 years in prison for the rape and killing of an elderly Grand Rapids neighbor 25 years ago.
AP Wire
Mar 22, 2014

Michael Newkirk, 60, was in prison for another crime when he was charged in the killing of 88-year-old Helen Tracy. State police say he confessed because he was feeling guilty about the killing.

He pleaded guilty Feb. 5 to second-degree murder, and Kent County Circuit Judge Mark Trusock sentenced him Thursday.

Tracy was killed in her home in 1989. A Kent County cold case team reopened the case in 2009, and investigators re-interviewed Newkirk last year.

Before the sentencing, Newkirk told the court he isn't a bad person but is a "good person" who made "a bad mistake" and is now "paying for it."

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