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NEWS UPDATES

Monday, August 13, 2018

Man Charged in Non-Fatal Harper Woods Hit and Run

Michael P. McNabney,40(DOB:02/17/78), of Lynn, Michigan, has been charged in connection with a non-fatal crash that seriously injured a 53-year-old Harper Woods man. On August 9, 2018 at 3:07 p.m. it is alleged that the defendant was driving his car at Harper and Bournemouth Streets when he struck the victim. It is further alleged that after the defendant hit the victim he drove away from the area. Harper Woods police were dispatched to the scene and called medics that transported the victim to a nearby hospital where he is receiving treatment for his injuries.

On August 10, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. the defendant turned himself in to Detroit authorities and was later taken into custody in Harper Woods.

The defendant has been charged with: Failure to Stop at an Injury Accident*. McNabney was arraigned today in 32-A District Court. The Probable Cause Conference is scheduled for August 22, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Daniel Palmer in 32-A District Court. The defendant received a $75,000 cash/surety bond.

*The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Detroit Mother Charged In Death of Three-Year-Old

Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Charlessia Pelt, 27, (DOB:02/27/91), of Detroit, in connection with the death of her three-year-old son. On Thursday, August 9, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. it is alleged that Pelt was driving her van at Seven Mile and Hayes with her son unrestrained in the rear passenger seat when she drove through a red light striking another car. The impact of the collision caused the child to be ejected on to the street. Pelt's van rolled backwards over the child and stuck a parked car. It is alleged that Pelt was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. Her son was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.

Pelt has been charged with: Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) Causing Death; Reckless Driving Causing Death; Child Abuse 2nd Degree; Child Abuse 2nd Degree; Child Abuse 2nd Degree; and three counts of Operating While Intoxicated. She was arraigned on Sunday, August 12, 2018, and received a $1 million/10% bond. Her Probable Cause Conference is on August 20, 2018 the Preliminary Examination is scheduled for August 27, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. Both hearings are before Judge Lydia Nance Adams in 36th District Court.

*The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Detroit Father Charged in Romulus I-94 Fatal Car Crash

Prosecutor Worthy has charged Wilburt Dion Thomas, 47 (DOB: 11/04/1970), of Detroit, in connection with a fatal car crash that killed his seven-year-old daughter. On July 15, 2018, on I-94 west of Inkster at 1:47a.m. it is alleged that Thomas was driving a stolen van under the influence of alcohol and marijuana with his seven-year-old daughter in the car. It is further alleged that he crashed the van into a disabled car parked on the shoulder of the road and struck a fence. The defendant allowed his daughter to walk away from the accident scene unsupervised. While the child was walking in search of help, she was fatally struck by another vehicle driven by a woman. The woman immediately contacted the police.* The child succumbed to injuries sustained during the car crash. Thomas was taken to a local hospital and later released.

Thomas was charged while he was not in custody with: Second Degree Murder 750.317 Life; Involuntary Manslaughter (15 years); Child Abuse - Second Degree (10 years); Operating Under the Influence Occupant ( one year); Controlled - Possession of Marijuana 333.74032D (one year); and Alcohol - Open Container (90 days).** On the evening of Friday, August 10, 2018 Thomas was arrested and placed in custody by the Romulus Police Department.

Prosecutor Worthy said," The confluence of events in this case caused the untimely death of the defendant's young daughter. The alleged actions of the father included driving a stolen car while highly intoxicated, having open intoxicants and marijuana in the car, crashing into a disabled car, and allowing his daughter to leave the car and walk alone across the highway to her death. This is a tragic and devastating case."

Thomas was arraigned in 34th District Court in Romulus on Saturday, August 11th and received a $1 million/10% bond. His Probable Cause Conference is on August 22, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. and his Preliminary Examination is on August 29, 2018 at 9:05 a.m. in 34th District Court.

*The warrant request for the female driver is currently being reviewed, no decision has been made at this time.
**The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Defendant Wilburt Thomas Charged in Livonia Car Theft

Prosecutor Worthy has charged Wilbert Dion Thomas, 47 (DOB:11/04/1970), of Detroit, with a Motor Vehicle - Unlawfully Driving Away (five years), and Larceny in a Building ( four years) in connection with stealing a van from a transportation company located in the 34935 block of Schoolcraft in Livonia.* On July 13, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. it is alleged that Thomas was an employee of the company as a driver when he stole a car key and took a van without permission from the company lot. During the investigation of the fatal car crash that killed Thomas's seven-year-old daughter it was discovered that Thomas was driving a stolen van.

Thomas was arrested and placed in custody on Friday, August 10, 2018 by the Romulus Police Department. He was arraigned in 34th District Court in Romulus on Saturday and received a $1 million /10% bond. His Probable Cause Conference is on August 22, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. and his Preliminary Examination is on August 29, 2018.

*The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Detroit Man Charged in Beating Death of Girlfriend

Tykese Keaton-Baldwin, 20 (DOB: 01/20/1998) of Detroit, has been charged in connection with the fatal beating of Brittany Collett, 23 of Clearwater, Florida. On August 11, 2018, after 4:30 a.m., it is alleged that the defendant fatally beat Ms. Collett. At 5:25 a.m. Detroit Police Officers were dispatched to a home in the 19370 block of Prairie in Detroit. Officers observed Ms. Collett's body face down on the grass with blood around her head. She was taken by medics to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. It has been determined that she died as a result of blunt force trauma

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The defendant has been charged with: Second Degree Murder.* The Defendant was arraigned and remanded to jail today in 36th District Court 8:30 a.m. today. The Probable Cause Hearing is scheduled for August 24, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.; the Preliminary Examination is scheduled for August 31, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. Both hearings are before Judge Deborah Lewis Langston in 36thDistrict Court. The defendant was remanded to jail.

*The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

James Matthews Charged In 2000 Sexual Assault

On April 19, 2018, Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged James Matthews, 65, (DOB: 02/25/1953), of Bronx, New York, in connection with a sexual assault that occurred in Detroit in 2000. Mathews was a resident of Detroit when the crime occurred. On July 12, 2000 at 6:30 a.m. Matthews told a 50-year-old female acquaintance that he wanted her to come to his house in the 15000 block of Dolphin to talk. Once inside it is alleged that Matthews became violent and sexually assaulted the woman while armed with a knife. After the assault he restrained the victim and left the room. While he was in another part of the house the victim was able to escape and call 911. Matthews was arrested at the scene, and the victim was taken to a local hospital.

In 2000 a warrant request was sent to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, the victim was unable to appear for the required interview, and the case was later closed. In January 2018 new forensic evidence was developed, and the victim was contacted and interviewed. As a result WCPO, on April 19, 2018, a not in custody warrant for Matthews for two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree was charged while he was residing in New York State.*Matthews was arrested by New York law enforcement authorities on April 19, 2018 and refused to waive extradition in New York. On July 23, 2018 Matthews was arraigned on the Governor's Warrant in New York and on August 6, 2018. On the same day after the extradition hearings concluded Mathews left New York State and was transported to Michigan on August 12, 2018.Matthews was arraigned on August 14, 2018 t 10:30 a.m. before 36th District Court Magistrate Millicent Sherman. The probable cause conference is scheduled for August 28, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.; the preliminary examination is scheduled for September 4, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. Both hearings are before Judge Deborah Lewis Langston in 36th District Court. The defendant received a$250,000 cash/surety bond.

*The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

James Matthews Charged in 2003 Homicide

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged James Edward Matthews, 65, (DOB: 02/25/1953) of Detroit, in connection with the 2003 homicide of Marchella Robinson, of Detroit. Ms. Robinson was 40-years-old at the time of her death.. On January 10, 2003 at approximately 8:50 a.m., Detroit Police officers were dispatched to the 11400 block of St. Mary's Street in Detroit. Upon arrival, the officers discovered victim's lifeless body on the front lawn next door to the home where Mathews was residing in the11400 block of St. Mary's. It is alleged that Matthews strangled the victim.

In February 2018, the Detroit Police Department presented the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office with a not in custody warrant request for James Matthews in connection with the murder of Ms. Robinson.* It is alleged that forensic evidence in the 2000 Criminal Sexual Conduct case links Matthews to the 2003 homicide case. On July 31,2018, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office charged Matthews with First Degree Premeditated Murder.**

Matthews was arrested on April 19, 2018 on two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree, and he refused to waive extradition in New York. On July 23, 2018 Matthews was arraigned on the Governor's Warrant in New York, and on August 6, 2018, after the extradition hearings concluded Mathews left New York State and was transported to Michigan. He arrived in Michigan on August 12, 2018. He is expected to be arraigned on August 14, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. in 36th District Court.

Prosecutor Worthy said, "This 2003 homicide case was reopened when forensic evidence was discovered in a sexual assault case that allegedly linked the defendant to this homicide. We aggressively worked on this case, and as a result, this led us to partner with police authorities from the New York City Police Department. This resulted in the First Degree Murder charge against Defendant Matthews."

Matthews was arraigned on August 14, 2018 t 10:30 a.m. before 36th District Court Magistrate Millicent Sherman. The probable cause conference is scheduled for August 28, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.; the preliminary examination is scheduled for September 4, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. Both hearings are before Judge Deborah Lewis Langston in 36th District Court. The defendant was remanded to jail.

*A warrant request was presented to WCPO in 2003 which was returned to the Detroit Police Department with a request for further investigation. The warrant was not returned with the work requested by WCPO.
**The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Prosecutor Kym Worthy Dismisses Homicide Charges Against Aaron Salter


Statement of Prosecutor Worthy

Aaron Salter's case was reviewed by our Conviction Integrity Unit. We must ascertain we have done everything to assure we have a case we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. In the cases where there is a challenge to a conviction, we take it equally as seriously.

The Aaron Salter case has been thoroughly reviewed, investigated, and considered. It has been determined that the case against Mr. Salter was based primarily on mistaken identification by the main witness in the case. I am pleased to announce today that this 15-year old homicide conviction against Aaron Salter will finally be dismissed. The system failed him. Nothing I can say will bring back the years of his life spent in prison. Justice is truly being served today. We will recommend to the Michigan Attorney General's Office that Mr. Salter receive wrongful conviction compensation. We sincerely wish him well.

I would like to thank Valerie Newman, head of the Wayne County Prosecutor's Conviction Integrity Unit, CIU attorney Carole Stanyar, who reviewed this case, and CIU investigator Patricia Little. I also want to thank the Federal Defenders Office Attorneys Colleen Fitzharris, Loren Khogali, Jonathan Epstein and their investigators for their work on behalf of Mr. Salter.

Statement of Federal Defenders Office

A team of lawyers, investigators, and paralegals at the Federal Defender Office (FDO) in Detroit, Michigan have been representing Aaron Salter in his federal habeas corpus proceedings since 2008. Throughout the course of the representation, FDO investigators and attorneys uncovered previously undisclosed evidence and interviewed witnesses who could confirm Mr. Salter's alibi at the time of the shooting. They found and interviewed a witness who was the sole eyewitness at trial, who stated that he was never certain Mr. Salter was the shooter. In 2013, a prisoner contacted the FDO attorneys claiming to have personal knowledge of the shooting. After following up on that lead, the FDO attorneys hired a former FBI polygrapher, to conduct a polygraph examination of Aaron Salter, which he passed.

Mr. Salter did not receive relief from the Michigan state courts. In December 2017, the federal habeas proceedings resumed. Shortly afterwards, the Conviction Integrity Unit was established. In March 2018, attorneys from the FDO submitted an application to the CIU, which included all of the materials discovered to date. Once the CIU agreed to review Mr. Salter's case, the team from the FDO worked with the CIU. In the end, all of the new evidence demonstrated that Mr. Salter was not present at the shooting, nor was he the shooter.

This was a team effort by everyone at the FDO. Representing Aaron Salter has been an honor. His optimism and kindness have been truly inspiring.

Facts of the Case

On August 6, 2003 at 1:30 a.m., four people were shot while sitting on a porch on Park Grove Street on Detroit's east side. Two shooters approached the scene on foot, from around the corner near an intersection, and shot at the victims through a privacy fence on the front porch. Willie Thomas, 36, of Detroit was killed, a 21-year-old man was critically injured, a 24-year-old male was shot once in the elbow, and a 36-year-old woman escaped unharmed.

After investigation by the Detroit Police Homicide Unit, Aaron Salter was charged with first-degree premeditated murder, two counts of assault with intent to murder, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. During the December 2003 jury trial in the case, the principal and sole identifying witness was the surviving 24-year-old male. He claimed at trial that he was able to identify Aaron Salter as one of two shooters responsible for this crime. The defendant did not testify in his own defense. On December 8, 2003, Salter was found guilty of First Degree Murder, two counts of Assault with Intent to Murder and Felony Firearm and on January 4, 2004, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Procedural History of the Case

Mr. Salter's convictions were affirmed on appeal in 2005 by the Michigan Court of Appeals (COA). In 2009, the Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) denied leave to appeal. Salter filed several motions for relief from judgment in the trial court that were also denied by the trial court and later, by the COA and the MSC. However, during both his direct appeal and his collateral appeal, much of the new evidence (discovered by the CIU and by FDO) was not yet known. Mr. Salter has also filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2254, raising, among other things, that he has passed a polygraph, and claiming that identification procedures were unduly suggestive. Consideration of that petition was deferred so that the CIU could consider Mr. Salter's claim of innocence.

Conviction Integrity Unity

In January 2018, the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) was formed in by Prosecutor Kym Worthy to investigate claims of innocence, to determine whether there is clear and convincing new evidence that the convicted defendant was not the person who committed the offense.

https://www.waynecounty.com/elected/prosecutor/conviction-integrity-unit.aspx

In March 2018 Federal Defenders Office attorneys Colleen Fitzharris and Jonathan Epstein requested that the CIU review the Salter case. Assistant Prosecutor Valerie Newman, CIU Director, determined that the case was appropriate for review and assigned CIU attorney Carole Stanyar and Detective Patricia Little to investigate the case.

Investigation in the case has now revealed that the 24-year-old male's identification was mistaken; no other evidence supported the conviction of this defendant. There were considerable difficulties with the 24-year-old's identification of Aaron Salter as the perpetrator. He did not know the shooter. He was viewing the shooters at night through a small space in a privacy screen. He viewed the shooters only momentarily, under the duress of the shooting, while he was trying to flee, with his back turned to the gun fire.

The description he gave of the shooter -- a black male, 26-27 years old, 5'7", 150-170 pounds, low-cut hair, dark clothing - bears no resemblance to Aaron Salter: 6'3", 250 pounds, and a stand out high school football star at home from college on summer break. The 24-year-old was shown three photo arrays by the officer in charge of this case, and he picked out three people who "resembled" the two shooters. The 24-year-old witness who is now 39-years-old was extensively re-interviewed, and he acknowledged not ever being sure of his identification of Aaron Salter.

Police witnesses were interviewed, and all police files were reviewed. The circumstances surrounding the showing of photo arrays were thoroughly investigated. When interviewed recently by the CIU, the investigating officer recalled the case as being very weak. This was the first time WCPO was informed of the investigating officer's opinion about the case.The transcripts and other records were reviewed by CIU attorneys, and it was determined that the testimony of the 24-year-old witness in the People's case resulted in Salter's conviction. Attempts were made to interview all of the surviving victims of this crime, as well as the family members of the deceased and the defendant. The sister of the deceased stated that she never believed that Aaron Salter killed her brother because they had grown up in the same neighborhood and Salter was always kind to her brother. Mr. Salter's alibi witnesses (mostly family and friends who never testified) were also interviewed, and his whereabouts on the days surrounding the homicide were investigated. Salter's trial defense attorney was interviewed and his file reviewed. In addition, Aaron Salter passed a polygraph examination by a former FBI polygrapher approved by this office.

Dismissal of Charges

The CIU investigation has established that the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Aaron Salter committed this crime. The testimony of the sole identifying witness has now been significantly undermined. He now acknowledges he was never sure of his identification of Aaron Salter. Salter never fit the description of the shorter shooter, and there is no evidence which supports that theory.

Based upon the evidence, this case exceeds the CIU threshold standard of clear and convincing evidence. Salter was not involved in the murder of Willie Thomas, or the assaults on the other victims. An order issued by Judge Annette Berry has been entered vacating Salter's convictions and sentences, and dismissing the charges of first-degree premeditated murder, two counts of assault with intent to murder, and felony firearm. Mr. Salter's federal habeas petition will also be dismissed today. Salter is expected to be released from the Chippewa Correction Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan today.

Ypsilanti Man Charged in Q-Line Incident

On August 14, 2018, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged Winston Lee Quiney, 30 (DOB: 07/18/1988), of Ypsilanti, MI, in connection with breaking windows at two Q-Line Stations as well as Comerica Park.

On August 6, 2018, Detroit police officers responded to multiple calls of broken windows. At 2:13 a.m., it is alleged that the defendant broke windows at the Q-Line Adelaide Station and more windows at the Q-Line Montcalm station with a sledgehammer. Detroit police officers also responded to Comerica Park security who reported windows broken at Comerica Park in the 2100 block of Witherell in Detroit. It is alleged that the defendant broke the windows with a sledgehammer. Investigation by the officers led to the arrest of Quiney around 4:30 the same morning.

Quiney has been charged with: two counts of Malicious Destruction of a Building $1000-$2000 and Malicious Destruction of Personal Property $1,000 - $2,000*. Quiney was arraigned on August 14, 2018 before 36th District Court Magistrate Millicent Sherman. A pre-trial is scheduled for August 21, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Dana Hathaway in 36th District Court. An exam is scheduled for August 28, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. The defendant received a $25,000/10% bond. A photograph of Quiney is attached.

*The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Belleville Man Charged With Murder in DPD Officer's Pedestrian Hit-and-Run

On August 7, 2018, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged Jonathan David Cole, 19, (DOB: 12/10/1998), of Belleville, MI, in connection with the hit-and-run pedestrian car crash that severely injured Detroit Police Officer Fadi Shukur, 30.

On August 4, 2018 at approximately 2:40 a.m., Detroit police officers were on the scene to assist with a crowd control issue at a location in the 18800 block of West McNichols near Stahelin Street in Detroit. It is alleged that while Officer Shukur was walking to his scout car, the defendant struck him with his vehicle, which was traveling at a high rate of speed. The defendant fled the scene, but later turned himself in at a Detroit Police precinct.

Cole was charged with Reckless Driving Causing Serious Impairment to a Bodily Function and Failure to Stop at the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Serious Impairment.* The probable cause conference was held on August 14, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Kenneth King.

On August 15, 2018, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office received the sad news that Officer Shukur succumbed to injuries he sustained in the crash. The charges against Cole were amended to: Murder 2nd Degree; Reckless Driving Causing Death; and Failure to Stop at the Scene of an Accident When at Fault Resulting in Death. He was arraigned today and remanded to the Wayne County Jail. A Probable Cause Hearing is scheduled for August 30, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.; the Preliminary Examination is scheduled for September 6, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. Both hearings are before Judge Kenneth King in 36th District Court.

*The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Father Charged in Non-Fatal Shooting of Two-Year-Old Son

Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Johntauris Dupree Barber, aka Jontaruis Dupree Barber, 24 (DOB:01/14/1994), of Detroit, in connection with the non-fatal shooting of his son. On August 13, 2018 at 6:00 p.m., at the family home located in the 12600 block of Laing, Barber, his wife and another man were in the house when Barber heard a loud bang in the living room area. When he ran into the living room he found his two-year-old son was bleeding from the right side of his body. It is alleged that the defendant failed to properly secure his handgun, and placed it underneath a living room couch where the child was able to find it and shoot himself. Barber ran to a nearby house and a neighbor transported the child, Barber and the child's mother to a local hospital for treatment. Police were dispatched to the home to investigate and discovered the handgun and suspected marijuana. It is further alleged Barber possessed the marijuana that was found in the home.

Barber has been charged with Child Abuse 2, Felony Firearm, Possession of Marijuana.* WCPO has been informed that the arraignment took place sometime this morning. Barber was arraigned before 36th District Court Magistrate Jeffrey Kleparek. The Probable Cause Conference is scheduled for August 23, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.; the Preliminary Examination is scheduled for August 28, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. Both hearings are before Judge William McConico in 36 District Court. The defendant received a $50,000 cash/surety bond.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Detroit Man Charged in Homicide of Wayne County Sergeant Lee Smith

Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Desmond Robinson, 47(DOB: 08/11/1971), in connection with the fatal car crash that killed 55-year-old Wayne County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Lee Smith. On August 14, 2018 at 10:10 a.m., Deputy Smith was off-duty, jogging on Hines Drive and Middlebelt in Westland, when it is alleged that Robinson fatally hit Sgt. Smith with his SUV, and drove away from the scene at a high rate of speed. Sgt. Smith succumbed to his injuries and was pronunced dead at the scene. Investigation by the Westland Police Department led to the arrest of Robinson in Garden City on August 16, 2018.

Robinson has been charged with: 1) Reckless driving causing death;2) Failure to stop at an injury accident scene causing death; 3) Tampering with evidence*. He was arraigned and remanded to jail today in 34th District Court in Romulus. His Probable Cause Conference is on August 30, 2018 and his Preliminary Examination is on September 2, 2018 in 18th District Court in Westland.

Prosecutor Worthy said: "By all accounts, Sgt. Smith was a dedicated, passionate, and skilled member of law enforcement who was going to retire soon. In the blink of an eye, the alleged actions of this defendant destroyed the lives of his family, friends, fellow officers, and the many others he had yet to positively influence."

*The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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