Justin David Streeter, 29, was denied bond after being charged with open murder. He is lodged in the Ottawa County Jail.
His attorney says it was a case of self-defense.
Police said that Streeter and the victim, 55-year-old Thomas Allen Kennedy, had a disagreement at their apartment Friday night and that Streeter stabbed and killed the older man.
Police responded to the residence where Streeter and Kennedy lived, at 1306½ Columbus Ave., at 10 p.m.
During the court hearing, defense attorney Terry Nolan told the judge that he meant his client no disrespect, but found him childlike in discussing the case. Nolan said his client and the victim were roommates and friends, and that they both suffered from mental disabilities.
A family member said both Streeter and Kennedy had lived with several other people in a building next to the Spring Lake Village Hall, but had to vacate the residence and find a new place when the building was recently torn down for new development. The two men ended up in the Columbus Avenue apartment.
“My understanding is a fight broke out,” the defense attorney said of the Friday night incident. Nolan said that the victim had a knife, which Streeter grabbed and then stabbed Kennedy.
“This isn’t a case where this is a cold-blooded murder,” Nolan said while asking the judge to set bond.
Judge Craig Bunce denied bond based on the charge of open murder.
The next court date will be a probable-cause hearing on July 23. A preliminary examination, used to determine if there is enough evidence to continue the case at a felony level, will be held Aug. 2
Thomas Kennedy was well loved, according to his brother, Bill Kennedy, and according to others who commented on social media.
“He just couldn’t sing,” Bill told WZZM-TV reporter Noah Fromson.
Kennedy was a regular at Sporty’s Bar on Beechtree Street, according to his brother. The owners have a picture on the wall of Kennedy singing karaoke. A sign outside reads: “Rest in Peace, Thomas Allen Kennedy. You will be truly missed.”