State Briefs

Associated Press • Nov 8, 2018 at 6:00 AM

Here’s what’s making news around Michigan today:

Ex-Michigan State player pleads guilty in assault case

LANSING (AP) — Former Michigan State football player Auston Robertson has pleaded guilty to a sexual assault charge and could face more than three years in prison.

The 21-year-old entered the plea Wednesday to one count of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual penetration. Robertson told an Ingham County Circuit Court judge that he assaulted a fellow student in her off-campus apartment in April 2017.

Michigan State dismissed Robertson from the team following the allegations.

Robertson was initially charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and a judge later ruled that prosecutors could cite two previous rape accusations against Robertson during a trial. The school has said it was unaware of the previous sexual assault cases.

He faces up to up to 43 months in prison when sentenced Dec. 4.

US: Attacker at Michigan airport was on 'mission to murder'

FLINT (AP) — A prosecutor says a man accused of stabbing a police officer was willing to die if he could get the victim's gun and attack others at a Michigan airport.

Jurors heard opening statements Wednesday in the trial of Amor Ftouhi (ah-MOOR' fuh-TOO'-ee), a Tunisian who was living in Montreal. He's charged with three crimes at the Flint airport in 2017, including an act of terrorism .

Federal prosecutor Jules DePorre says Ftouhi saw himself as a martyr who wanted to "kill Americans until he himself was killed." Ftouhi's lawyer didn't make an opening statement. Ftouhi says he's innocent.

The government says he legally entered the U.S. at Champlain, New York, and attacked Lt. Jeff Neville five days later at the Flint airport. Neville survived.

Man again sentenced to life, no parole for 1996 decapitation

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A western Michigan man has again been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing and decapitating a teen in 1996 and mutilating the head in front of a video camera. 

Federico Cruz, 39, learned his fate Wednesday in a Kent County courtroom.

Cruz was 16 when 17-year-old David Crawford was suffocated. Crawford's head was cut off and later mutilated.

Cruz was convicted of murder and got the mandatory sentence after a jury rejected an insanity defense. Cruz and many Michigan juvenile lifers who are serving no-parole sentences are eligible for a new hearing because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The television station reports that a judge told Cruz on Wednesday that progress made in prison toward rehabilitation does not mitigate that he is a sociopath.

Police identify woman whose body was found in UP dumpster

IRON MOUNTAIN (AP) — Police say a body found in a dumpster behind a resale shop in the western Upper Peninsula belonged to a woman was looking for usable items when she died.

The Iron Mountain Police Department said Wednesday that 59-year-old Shelley Bowman apparently slipped and fell head-first into an approximately 5-feet-deep open space within the dumpster.

She was found dead Tuesday morning.

Police say the preliminary cause of death, pending toxicology results, is accidental positional asphyxiation.

The dumpster is behind a Goodwill Industries store in Iron Mountain, 190 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge.

Second trial set for ex-Michigan trooper in boy's death

DETROIT (AP) — A former Michigan state trooper will face a second trial in April in the death of a Detroit boy who crashed an all-terrain vehicle after he was shot with a Taser.

Mark Bessner's first trial ended without a unanimous verdict on Oct. 31. A judge on Wednesday set another trial for April 1.

Bessner is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of 15-year-old Damon (Da-MAHN') Grimes, who crashed an ATV in August 2017.

Bessner shot Grimes from the passenger seat of a moving patrol car as he and his partner pursued the boy at high speed. Bessner says he believed Grimes was armed, but the teen had no weapon. He quit the state police.

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