State Roundup


City pla­ns own crime lab to speed results 
WYOMING, Mich. (AP) — The Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming is planning to create its own crime lab as part of an effort to get evidence analyzed more quickly.
WOOD-TV reports that the Wyoming City Council has approved spending $100,000 on lab equipment after its police department complained that it took too long for results to come back from the Michigan State Police crime lab.
The Associated Press sent a message Tuesday seeking comment from state police.
The state police crime lab currently analyzes evidence for most law enforcement agencies in the state. The Wyoming Police Department said it can take two weeks for results on seized drugs and two to three weeks on blood evidence, delaying court cases.
City officials say its costs will be offset by not using the state lab.
Ocqueoc Twp.
Man threa­tens hunter with running chainsaw 
OCQUEOC TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Police say a northern Michigan man threatened a hunter with a running chainsaw during a dispute over where the hunter parked.
The Alpena News reports 57-year-old Douglas Merchant was arraigned Monday in 89th District Court on a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon following the Nov. 16 dispute. He’s due back in court Dec. 17 for a preliminary hearing.
The Associated Press left a message Tuesday seeking comment from defense lawyer Joel Bauer.
According to a report to state police, the dispute began when a hunter was parked on what Merchant deemed to be his private property in Presque Isle County’s Ocqueoc Township, about 85 miles northeast of Traverse City. Police say he lunged at the hunter with the chainsaw.
Port Huron
Trial next for woman accused of false rape report 
PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — A woman accused of filing a false report of rape and tampering with evidence is going to trial in St. Clair County.
Sara Ylen (WHY’-lin) is charged with lying about a sexual assault at her Lexington home last year and using makeup to create what looked like bruises. Trial is scheduled to start Tuesday in Port Huron.
In a different case in Sanilac County, Ylen is charged with fraud. She’s accused of deceiving a hospice service and many supporters into believing she had cancer. Fundraisers were held for Ylen.
Ylen is well-known in Michigan’s Thumb because she talked publicly about being a rape victim after a jury in 2003 convicted a man of sexually assaulting her. James Grissom served about a decade in prison before his conviction was overturned.
Fire in wood heating system kills woman 
ITHACA, Mich. (AP) — Authorities in central Michigan say a 41-year-old woman died in a fire that apparently started with the wood-heating system of her home.
Gratiot County Sheriff Doug Wright tells the Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant that the fire broke out late Sunday at the rented house in Ithaca, about 35 miles west-southwest of Saginaw.
He says that Melissa Franks died of smoke inhalation, and the fire also killed her two dogs.
The sheriff says Franks was the only resident of the house and says the fire apparently originated with the wood stove and the badly clogged chimney. He also says the home’s two smoke detectors apparently weren’t working.
Man faces trial in apartment fire that killed 3 kids 
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A man faces trial on involuntary manslaughter and child abuse charges in a February apartment fire in Kalamazoo that killed three young children who were left home alone.
The Kalamazoo Gazette reports jury selection for 19-year-old Fred Glespie began Tuesday and is expected to last several days.
The Benton Harbor man is charged in the Feb. 18 fire at Interfaith Homes that killed Jonetta Woods’s 3-year-old twins and the children’s 1-year-old sister.
Authorities say the children were left to be cared for by another young child.
Court documents say Glespie’s attorney seeks to show that Woods, and not his client, had a history of leaving the children alone.
Glespie is Woods’ ex-boyfriend. A family court jury earlier found Woods and Glespie were neglectful on the day of the fire.
Battle Creek
Man pleads guilty in fire that killed 8-year-old girl 
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — A man who intentionally set a house fire that killed an 8-year-old Battle Creek girl has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
The Battle Creek Enquirer reports Jesse Tatum faces a long prison term when sentenced Jan. 6. Monday’s plea came a day before trial. The 25-year-old was charged with felony murder and arson in the November 2012 death of Karrina Johnson.
Tatum told the court he poured gas on a couch on porch and set it ablaze. He said he didn’t think children were at home after knocking on the door.
The girl died at a hospital after a firefighter pulled her from the burning home. Two of her siblings escaped by jumping from a second-floor window.
Officials say the fire followed an argument between Tatum and Karrina’s mother.
Grand Ledge
Michigan National Guard unit gets Kuwait send-off 
GRAND LEDGE, Mich. (AP) — Family and friends of 100 Michigan Army National Guard members have given them a warm ceremonial send-off as they prepare for deployment to Kuwait.
The event took place Monday at the Grand Ledge Army Aviation Support Facility. The soldiers are part of the D and E Companies, 2nd Battalion, 238th General Support Aviation Battalion.
Most will be serving in Kuwait by January after undergoing training at Fort Hood, Texas.
Forty-year-old Geoff Horvath tells the Lansing State Journal that this deployment is his fourth and he says it gets harder each time he has to say goodbye to his children. The deployment is expected to be less than one year.
The base in Kuwait acts as a staging area to move personnel, supplies and equipment around the Persian Gulf area.