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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jun 4, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Judge urged to clear path to parole in nursing home deaths

WALKER (AP) — A lawyer has urged a judge to ignore "popular opinion" and affirm the release of a woman who has spent 30 years in prison for killing residents at a nursing home.

Kent County Judge Joe Rossi heard arguments Monday in a challenge to parole for Catherine Wood. There was no immediate decision.

Five people were suffocated at the Alpine Manor Nursing Home in Walker, near Grand Rapids, in the late 1980s. Wood pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and murder conspiracy, but the attorney general's office said she admitted to participating in all five deaths and was planning more.

Relatives of the victims have sued to try to overturn the parole board's decision. Another woman, Gwendolyn Graham, was sentenced to life in prison for her role in the murders.

Man gets prison in crash that killed West Michigan newlyweds

ALLEGAN (AP) — A man has been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for a July 2018 crash that killed a newlywed couple in Allegan County, near where they were married weeks earlier.

The Holland Sentinel reported Jacob Scot Damron, 22, of Wayland was given his punishment Monday after earlier pleading no contest to two felony counts of operating while intoxicated causing death. His minimum sentence is just over seven years.

The newspaper said Damron had used medical marijuana and was speeding. Defense lawyer Matthew Antkoviak said Damron also was taking an antidepressant.

The Allegan County Sheriff's Office said 24-year-old Logan Thunderland Allbaugh and 22-year-old Hannah (Kwekel) Allbaugh died following the crash in Heath Township after a car drove through a stop sign and struck their vehicle.

Woman surrenders to face charges in death of buried mother

LEROY TWP. (AP) — A woman has surrendered to authorities to face charges in the death of her 74-year-old mother found buried outside their southwestern Michigan home.

The Kalamazoo Gazette said Marcia Lutz, 46, of Leroy Township on Monday reported to Calhoun County District Court to face a felony charge of concealing a death and a misdemeanor charge of failing to report a body. Court records show she posted $1,000 bond during her arraignment.

The body of Phyllis Lutz of Leroy Township was found in January wrapped in blankets in a 4- to 5-foot-deep hole in an area used as a burn pit. She had last been seen in September 2018.

No OT for fire officials on call in Battle Creek, court says

BATTLE CREEK (AP) — Two fire battalion chiefs in southwestern Michigan who wanted overtime for being on call have lost their case at a federal appeals court.

Howard Holt and Martin Erskine said they avoided alcohol, quit playing sports and went to certain events in a separate car in case they were called to duty at odd hours in Battle Creek. But Judge Janet Neff said they were exempt from overtime under the executive exemption in federal wage law.

An appeals court agreed Monday, saying evidence supports the conclusion that their primary duty was managing employees in the fire department.

Former Fire Chief Larry Hausman said other battalion chiefs were able to pursue pastimes while on call, including golf and working on a horse farm.

Off-duty Detroit police sergeant killed in domestic incident

GARDEN CITY (AP) — Police said an off-duty Detroit sergeant has died following what was described as domestic violence at a home in a suburban community.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Monday that Sgt. Elaine Williams was "a rising star in this police department."

Police in Garden City said in a statement that they responded to the home at about 11:40 p.m. Sunday and found a person dead inside. Another person was found shot and wounded outside the home and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Details on that person haven't been released.

Police describe what happened as a domestic violence incident and they are investigating.

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