2007 Domestic Violence Homicides in Michigan

In this story, domestic violence homicide victims’ names from calendar year 2007 are listed alphabetically along with a synopsis of the circumstances surrounding each murder as described in newspaper articles. We cannot be certain that we have included all of the domestic homicides in the state.  Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board (MDVPTB) contracts with a clipping service that provides newspaper stories reporting on domestic violence homicides printed in newspapers throughout Michigan. The stories are then put into synopsis form for the purpose of creating this document.  We want you to know that some of the information may be disturbing to some.

In 2007, 45 people were reported in local newspapers to have been killed in domestic violence related homicides in Michigan. This number includes 38 intimate partners and 6 friends, family members, children of the primary victim, or bystanders. Additionally one police officer was murdered when responding to a call where the suspect was threatening to kill his ex-wife with a shotgun.

The weapon of choice of abusive murderers was a firearm. More than half (25) of the victims were shot to death. One-fourth of the victims (11) were stabbed to death. Three victims were beaten to death, and four of the victims were strangled.

Nearly half of the time (41%) after the victim was murdered, the perpetrator then committed suicide. Males committed all of these. All used guns. Three additional males attempted unsuccessfully to murder their partners and then shot themselves.

In addition, current or ex-partners of their parents killed three children, and injured two
children. Thirty-six children were left without a mother, father, or both parents due to the domestic homicide. Two women were killed who were pregnant.

Males perpetrated all but two of the reported domestic homicides occurring in 2007.  There were four additional homicides that were likely domestic related but there was not sufficient information in the newspaper coverage to be certain.

In at least 40% of the cases, the relationship had either ended or was ending according to newspaper accounts. Many of the cases had a prior history of domestic violence documented by police and court records or reported by family or  friends. Four of the murders occurred while a Personal Protection Order was in place.

The synopsis of newspaper articles giving the stories of the lives of the victims contained in this report does not convey the complicated experience of torment and violence victims experienced. These stories also cannot reveal to us all the ways victims protected their children, reached out to various systems for help, how long they were afraid, begged not to be hurt, or screamed for help before their lives ended. These images help renew our determination to continue working toward a world free of domestic violence. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those mentioned here, and all others who died at the hands of those who professed to love them.

2007 Domestic Violence Homicide List

Mary Lynn Babb – 30
Evart, MI

On January 9, Mary Lynn Babb was returning to her job when her estranged husband, Thomas Daniel Babb, ambushed her. He rammed her car causing it to flip over in the parking lot and then fired two rounds into Mary Lynn’s car from a shotgun. Mary Lynn was pronounced dead at the hospital and her estranged husband was arrested shortly after the incident. In September, 2006, Babb was in court defending charges that he had bound his wife with duct tape and physically and sexually
assaulted her. A gun was allegedly used in that assault. In the same incident, Babb threatened to cut off Mary Lynn’s nose, burn their house down and prevent her from ever seeing her 4 year old son. The case was going to trial, Babb was free on bond, and there was a protection order in effect when he murdered Mary Lynn. She had initiated divorce proceedings and moved to Mt. Pleasant from Gaylord to escape her estranged husband. Thomas Daniel Babb pleaded no contest to second degree murder and was sentenced to 50-75 years in prison. Mary Lynn’s unfortunate homicide resulted in substantial legal changes with the passing of “Mary’s Law”, P.A. 192, amended MCL 765.6b.

Anne Bakunovich – 36
Shelby Township, MI

On November 1, Anne Bakunovich’s ex-husband, Thomas Kuzmak, killed her by striking her in the head twice with a blunt object and then stabbing her eighteen times with a knife. Kuzmak fled the scene and on November 3rd, walked into a diner in Pennsylvania, had breakfast, and confessed to a waitress that he was wanted for murder in Michigan. He was immediately arrested. He pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 30 – 50 years in prison. Anne had four children.

Cheryl Lynn Boeskool – 44
Garden City, MI

On August 3, Cheryl Lynn Boeskool’s body was discovered in a pond near a golf course. The autopsy found she died from multiple blows to her head and face from a blunt object. Cheryl’s ex-boyfriend was arrested and later arraigned on homicide charges.

Grace Bommarito – 43
Clinton Township, MI

On October 23, Grace Bommarito died of multiple stab wounds in front of her neighbor’s door where she had sought help after an alleged assault by her live-in boyfriend, John Bomar, who was later charged with murder in the first degree. The police had been called to the home earlier in the day. In 2006, Bomar was convicted of felonious assault for attacking Grace with a weapon. He was sentenced to serve up to three years in prison in March of 2007, but was released and on probation at the time of the alleged murder.

Pam Brainard – 33
Otsego, MI

On November 4, police found the body of Pam Brainard dead of a gunshot wound in her home. Her husband, Kevin Brainard, was also dead. Police believe that Kevin, a Plainwell police officer, shot Pam and then killed himself. The couple had a 2-year old daughter, and Pam had a 15 year old son.

Patricia Anne Brimhall – 51
Harper Woods, MI

On March 8, Patricia Anne Brimhall returned to the Harper Woods home she shared with her fiancé. Her ex-husband, Jon L. Brimhall, ambushed her as she was entering the house and shot her several times with a rifle. Brimhall then entered the house and shot himself.

Cristi Curtis – 29
Wyoming, MI

On July 20, Cristi Curtis did not show up for work; her mother later discovered her bullet-ridden body in a bedroom of her home. Her estranged boyfriend, Joseph Frees, was also dead in the home. Police believe that Frees shot Cristi several times and then turned the handgun on himself. Their relationship had just ended and Cristi had  asked Frees to move out.

Betty A. Dotson – 65
Frenchtown Twp., MI

On August 3, police responded to a 911 call and found Betty Dotson dead of multiple stab wounds to her neck. Her husband of 48 years, Gordon Dotson, made the call to 911. Police reported Mr. Dotson had bloody hands, although he denied killing his wife. He was convicted of first degree murder. Their adult children cited years of emotional and physical abuse of the children and of Betty at the hands of their father.

Deborah Earixson – 43
Monitor Township, MI

On October 29, Deborah Earixson’s 20 year old son found her in the kitchen of her home stabbed to death. Deborah’s boyfriend, Kenneth Strauss, was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home. Strauss had left a note admitting to killing Deborah. According to the sheriff’s department, Strauss had attempted to commit suicide in 2001 during a pending divorce with his previous wife who had a personal protection order against him.

Ladora Gibson – 38
Sterling Heights, MI

On November 24, Ladora Gibson was in her car when her husband, Anthony Gibson, shot and killed her and wounded her 9 year old son. The next day,  Gibson committed suicide with a firearm. Family members reported that Ladora had been afraid of Gibson and was living with relatives. They also reported that Ladora had suffered a long history of physical and mental abuse from Gibson.

Tracy Grandberry – 34
Warren, MI

On May 24, Tracy Grandberry’s husband, Dashon Grandberry, called police to say that he had just shot his wife and that he was going to commit suicide. When police arrived at the home, they found the couple’s two children unharmed and Tracy unconscious with a gunshot wound to her head. Tracy was transported to the hospital where she died a few days later. Her husband’s body was found in Detroit where he had shot and killed himself.

Tara Lynn Grant – 34
Washington Twp., MI

On February 9, Tara Lynn Grant was strangled to death by her husband, Stephen Grant. He reported her missing on February 14th. On March 3rd, investigators found her torso in the couple’s garage and later found other body parts in a nearby park. Her husband, Stephen Grant was arrested and charged with first degree murder and the mutilation of her corpse. He admitted to strangling her and dismembering her body on February 9th. Forensic evidence showed that Tara Lynn had physically struggled against her husband in the moments before her death. In addition to the strangulation, she suffered blunt force trauma to her head and face. The couple’s 6 year old daughter said that she and her 4 year old brother witnessed the murder. Grant was convicted of second degree murder and was sentenced to 50 – 80 years in prison.

Amy Green – 25
Bessemer, MI

On November 30, Amy Green called the police to report that she had been assaulted by her boyfriend, Ladd Honkala. When the police arrived, Honkala fired at them from inside the home. Amy’s 6 year old son was standing outside the home at the time and was wounded by the gunfire (he was treated and then released to a relative). Police eventually went inside the home and found Amy and Honkala dead. Police believe Honkala shot Amy before the police arrived and then turned the gun on himself when the house was surrounded by police. Honkala was scheduled to appear in court the week after the murder on a domestic violence charge. In 2006, Honkala pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic violence and was sentenced to 20 days in jail and a $965
fine. Amy was pregnant at the time she was murdered.

Alan J. Hinhala – 27
Traverse City, MI

On July 9, police were called to the home and upon entering, found the body of Alan Hinhala. His wife, Michelle Hinhala, who was injured, admitted to police that she stabbed her husband. Neighbors reported hearing frequent disturbances at the home,
and had called police at least once. Michelle was charged with second degree murder
and manslaughter.

Anna Marie Holder – 19
Kalamazoo Township, MI

On March 29, police allege that Anna Marie Holder’s husband, Christopher Holder, strangled her to death, used a sword to stab her in the throat and then to make sure she was dead, forced the nozzle of a fire extinguisher into her mouth and turned it on, releasing the foam into her throat. He then tried to burn her body before abandoning it. He initially confessed to her murder, but then changed his explanation. Prosecutors said that Anna Marie had wanted a divorce. Christopher is charged with her murder.

Bobbi Davis Jackson – 32
Kalamazoo, MI
Jonathon Mayfield – 8
Kalamazoo, MI
Lorenzo Mayfield Jr. – 10
Kalamazoo, MI

On April 19, police responded to a missing persons report and found Bobbi Davis Jackson and her two sons, Jonathan Mayfield (8) and Lorenzo Mayfield Jr. (10) dead from gunshot wounds in their home. Bobbi’s boyfriend, Shawn David Junius, was also dead at the scene. Police believe Junius shot the other three and then himself.

Lindsey Knight – 19
Pullman, MI

On December 11, police arrived at the home of Derek Woodley, Lindsey Knight’s boyfriend, because they received a report that a woman was being held against her will, possibly with children. When they entered the house, Woodley allegedly shot and injured one of the police officers, who then retreated and called for back up. After a seven hour stand-off, police entered the home for the second time and found Lindsey’s body, dead of a close range shotgun wound. Police believe she may have been killed before they arrived. Woodley was arraigned on multiple felonies, including murder, attempted murder against two police officers and unlawful imprisonment. The couple had 2 children, ages 7 months and 19 months.

Kimberly Martin – 40
Detroit, MI
Erica Martin – 21
Detroit, MI

On December 14, Kimberly Martin’s boyfriend, Walter Ramsey, allegedly stabbed her and her daughter, Erica Martin, to death. Police say the stabbing occurred because Kimberly wanted to break up with Ramsey. He was charged with two counts of open murder.

Allynn Chene McDade – 26
Taylor, MI

On March 26, Allynn Chene McDade was fatally shot and killed by her husband, James Hawkins, who also attempted to shoot Allynn’s 9 year old son as he was trying to help his mom. Hawkins then shot and killed himself. All of Allynn’s four children were at home and getting ready for school at the time of the murder.

Tracey J. McTigue – 31
Woodstock Township, MI

On April 3, Tracey McTigue’s boyfriend, Timothy Zielinski, shot her and then himself. Tracey’s mother found her lying in a pool of blood and called 911. Tracey died the next day in a Toledo hospital. Zielinski died immediately. Tracey’s aunt believed that the couple was going to split up when the murder occurred.

Crystal Michael – 28
Grand Rapids, MI

On May 7, Crystal Michael’s boyfriend, Laron Spight, stabbed her to death and also killed her unborn fetus. Laron Spight pleaded guilty to second degree murder and to assault causing the death of a fetus. He was sentenced to 30 – 60 years in prison.

Julie Mishoe – 28
Williamston, MI

On July 27, Julie Mishoe went to let her dog out and never returned as planned to watch television with her mother and three daughters. Police were called and Julie was found dead in a vehicle near her home the next day. Her ex-boyfriend, Ronald Ford Dailey, was also found dead in the vehicle. Police believe that after spending several weeks stalking and harassing Julie with constant phone calls and text messages, Dailey shot Julie in the head and torso and then killed himself. Julie had three children with Dailey. Her family said she had sought a personal protection order against him in the spring.

Michael Nale – 56
Richmond, MI

On September 13, police responded to a 911 call made by Michael Nale’s wife, Fayette Nale. Both Michael and his wife were transported to the hospital where Michael died of a stab wound to the chest. Fayette was arrested as the main suspect in the murder. The police had responded to the home several times for domestic violence over the previous five years. Fayette Nale was charged with second degree murder.

Vanda Kay Nolan – 39
Dafter Township, MI

On October 25, police found the body of Vanda Kay Nolan in the bedroom of her home. They also found the body of Kenneth Stafford. The couple had been living together. Police believe that Vanda Kay was murdered with a firearm and that Stafford then took his own life.

Leontyne “Tina” Partee-Elder – 41
Grand Rapids, MI

On August 21, police received a 911 call and found Leontyne “Tina” Partee-Elder dead of stab wounds in her home while her 11 year old and 8 year old children were hiding in the basement. Her estranged husband, Kevin Elder, was charged with first degree murder. The couple was in the final stages of divorce and Tina had gotten a personal protection order against Elder.

Debra L. Plesko – 49
Buena Vista Township, MI

On October 5, a relative of Debra Plesko found her dead in her home. She had been stabbed 11 times. Police eventually found her boyfriend, Robin E. Stevens, who they believe stabbed Debra to death. Stevens fled the scene and attempted to commit suicide by ingesting poison. He was charged with open murder.

Rema Reed – 32
Warren, MI
Terry Buchanan – 36
Warren, MI

On November 4, Rema Reed and her current boyfriend, Terry Buchanan, were leaving their apartment to go to work. Rema’s ex-boyfriend, Xavier Chase, allegedly ambushed the couple in the parking area. Rema and Terry tried to escape. Chase fired at Rema shooting her in the head and face, critically injuring her. She died a few days later. Terry was fatally shot and died at the scene. According to friends, Chase had been stalking Rema for months prior to the murders. Chase was charged with two counts of first degree murder and three felony firearms charges. In 1991, Chase was convicted of manslaughter in the death of his then girlfriend, LaDonna Myers, but served only 7 years of his 5 to15 year sentence.

Sarah Reilly – 33
Ypsilanti, MI

On December 3, Sarah Reilly’s boyfriend of several months, Daniel Hemphill, called police to say he awoke to find Sarah unresponsive and cold to the touch. He then said he dragged her from the bed to the doorway, where officers found her, because he believed she was only playing dead. Autopsy results revealed that Sarah had been strangled; she had 21 separate injuries around her body, including massive bruising along the neck and collarbone. A jury convicted Hemphill of second degree murder. In sentencing Hemphill to 31-75 years in prison, the judge stated he deserved the maximum sentence allowed for a particularly brutal crime in which he demonstrated intent by strangling [Sarah] for several minutes.

Beverly Sharrard – 67
Lyon Township, MI
On March 30, Beverly Sharrard’s adult daughter was visiting her mother’s home when she heard fighting and then heard two loud bangs. She then saw her father, Donald Sharrard, flee the house. She called 911 and then drove to the police station to report the shootings. Police found Beverly dead in her house and her father’s body in a nearby pond. Donald had been in the home in violation of a personal protection order. According to the Oakland County Sheriff, there was a history of domestic violence.

Susan Sheldon – 35
Grand Rapids, MI

On November 1, police believe that Susan Sheldon’s boyfriend, Marvin Snyder, beat her to death. Her body was discovered on November 13th in a scrap yard. The autopsy revealed she died of head trauma. Susan was the mother of five children. Snyder has a history of violence against other women. Snyder was charged with Susan’s murder.

Laura Stenberg – 46
Waterford Township, MI

On September 7, Edward Stenberg allegedly shot his wife, Laura Stenberg, in
their home. She was found wounded with her hands and feet bound, and died at a local hospital that same day. Edward Stenberg fled the scene and was found in Florida more than two weeks later. In April, Stenberg had been released from jail where he spent 10 months after pleading no contest to a charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm when he beat Laura with a blackjack. He was released from jail and was able to avoid a condition of probation that required that he attend a batterer’s intervention program. He was charged with first degree murder in Laura’s death and three related firearms offenses.

Marcia D. Stewart – 20
Southfield, MI

On February 16, police found Marcia D. Stewart dead of strangulation in a room at a Red Roof Inn. Her boyfriend, Alfred Eli Johnson, is charged with her murder. Marcia’s mother allegedly reported that Johnson was “obsessed” with her daughter and that he stalked her.

Tammy Susalla – 44
Westland, MI

On August 27, Tammy Susalla’s longtime live-in boyfriend, Timothy Catalano, allegedly shot Tammy and later told police that he shot her because “…she planned to leave him for another man”. Tammy died the next day of the gunshot wound. The Prosecutor’s office confirmed that Catalano “…had been upset about the end of their relationship.” Catalano is charged with first degree murder.

Rebecca Torres – 35
Flint, MI

On December 27, police found Rebecca Torres’ body in her home. She was dead of a gunshot wound. Later that day, when police stopped her husband, Enrique “Ricky” Torres, he got out of his car and began shooting at police. Police fired back,striking him several times. Torres is charged with Rebecca’s murder, two counts of using a gun to commit a felony, and one count of assault with intent to commit murder. The couple had two children.

Tracy Vieau – 40
Brownstown Township, MI

On February 8, Tracy Vieau’s estranged husband, Brian Vieau, called police to report a domestic violence assault in progress. When police arrived, they found both Tracy and Brian dead of gunshot wounds. The couple’s two young children were in an upstairs bedroom watching cartoons. Vieau, an off duty Detroit police officer, used a department issued handgun to commit the murder/suicide. The couple was planning to divorce. In a suicide note found typed on their home computer, Brian expressed unhappiness about the breakup of their marriage.

Debra Waidelich – (Age Unknown)
Lansing, MI

On August 21, police responded to a 911 call and found Debra Waidelich dead of a gunshot wound in her home. Her estranged husband, Daniel Waidelich, was also found dead at the scene. The couple had recently separated. Police believe that Debra was shot by Daniel, who then turned the gun on himself.

Loretta Wandahsega – 34
Hannahville, MI

On July 12, police found the body of Loretta Wandahsega, a member of the Hannahville Indian community, in her home the day after her marriage to Derek Linklater. Linklater later told court officials that the two of them were in the bedroom when they got into an argument that escalated into physical contact. Loretta died of blunt force trauma to the head. Linklater pleaded guilty to  second degree murder. Loretta was the mother of a 7 year old son who was not in the house at the time of the murder.

Armenta White – 35
Detroit, MI

On March 23, Armenta White’s boyfriend of four months, Darryl Sensely, called
police to say that he had strangled his girlfriend. Sensely was arrested and charged with first degree murder. Armenta’s 7 year old son was in the apartment when the police arrived.

Family, Friends, Police Officers, and Bystanders Murdered
(Cases Where The Domestic Violence Victim Was Not Murdered)

George Irwin – 47
Grand Rapids, MI

On July 24, George Irwin heard his sister in law screaming at her estranged boyfriend, Robert Hall. George went to help her. Police believe that Hall stabbed his estranged girlfriend multiple times and then stabbed George. When George fell to the ground from a chest wound, Hall allegedly resumed stabbing his estranged girlfriend. George died at the scene and his sister9in-law was seriously injured, but released from a local hospital one week later. The estranged girlfriend said that she and Hall had been dating for about a year and that he was abusive to her throughout; she was trying to end the relationship. Hall was charged with the George’s murder and with assault with intent to murder his estranged girlfriend.

Officer Robert Kozminski – 29
Grand Rapids, MI

On July 8, Officer Robert Kozminski and other officers responded to a domestic
disturbance involving the ex-husband of a woman at the residence. Reportedly the exhusband, Jeffrey Scott VanVeis, was inside the residence with a shotgun, threatening to kill the family. Officer Kozminski went to the rear of the residence, where the suspect was lying in wait in the garage. The suspect shot Officer Kozminski in the head with a shotgun round. Officer Kozminski died at a local hospital as a result of his injury. Police arrested VanVeis at the scene; he was subsequently convicted of first degree murder. Officer Kozminski was a seven year veteran of the Grand Rapids Police Department. He left behind a 3 year old daughter.

Name Unknown – Early 30’s
Lincoln Park, MI

On November 20, Kastriot Mydini walked into a local restaurant looking for his girlfriend. When he didn’t see her, Mydini started shooting. He killed the cook and injured a waitress. Mydini fled the scene.

Perpetrators Who Died After Attempting To Kill Victim

Brian Paul Mellinger – 43
Orangeville Township, MI

On November 13, police believe that Brian Mellinger shot his wife twice as she
attempted to flee from a violent argument in their home. He then turned the gun on himself and died at the scene. His wife was critically injured, but did not die.

Mark Richard Thibert – (Age Unknown)
Bad Axe, MI

On April 1, Mark Thibert showed up unexpectedly at his ex-girlfriend’s house while she was at work. He had a gun he had stolen from his stepfather and 72 rounds of ammunition. An argument ensued when the ex-girlfriend returned home, and after an extended time Thibert turned the gun on himself after first firing into the kitchen of the home. Police believe that Thibert “…may have been planning a more disastrous event.” The death was ruled a suicide.

David Turner – 17
Coleman, MI

On March 7, David Turner went to Dow High School in Midland in search of his former girlfriend, age 17, who had broken up with David a week earlier. After finding her in the school parking lot, he shot her four times and then killed himself. She survived the shooting.

2007 Homicide List References

Mary Lynn Babb ‐ 39 Evart, MI
01/10/07 – Bay City Times, Bay City, MI
01/11/07 – Saginaw News, Saginaw, MI
01/13/07 – Gaylord Herald Times, Gaylord, MI
01/17/06 – Ibid.
10/05/07 – Morning Sun, Mt. Pleasant, MI
10/31/07 – Gaylord Herald, Gaylord, MI
Anne Bakunovich – 36 Shelby Township, MI
11/‐3/07 – Detroit Free Press, Detroit, MI
11/04/07 –Ibid
11/07/07 – The Chronicle, Fraser, MI
03/21/08 – Lansing State Journal, Lansing, MI
Cheryl Boeskool – 44 Garden City, MI
08/09/07 – Detroit News, Detroit, MI
01/15/08 – Detroit Free Press, Detroit, MI
Grace Bommarito – 43 Clinton Twp., MI
10/25/07 – Detroit Free Press, Detroit, MI
11/01/07 – Journal, Mt. Clemens, MI
03/25/08 – Detroit free Press, Detroit, MI
Pam Brainard – 33 Otsego, MI
11/06/07 – Flint Journal, Flint, MI
11/08/07 – Grand Rapids Press, Grand Rapids, MI
Patricia Anne Brimhall – 51 Harper Woods, MI
03/10/07 – Detroit Free Press, Detroit, MI
03/11/07 – Livingston Press, Brighton, MI
Cristi Curtis – 29 Byron Center, MI
07/21/07 – Grand Rapids Press, Grand Rapids, MI
07/24/07 – South Advance, Byron Center, MI
Betty Dotson – 65 Monroe, MI
2007 Michigan DV Homicide List
Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board Page 19 of
03/04/08 – Monroe Evening News, Monroe, MI
03/06/08 – Ibid
03/04/08 – Ibid
03/05/08 – Ibid
03/06/08 – Ibid

2007 Homicide List References

Deborah Earixson – 43 Monitor Township, MI
10/31/07 – Bay City Times, Bay City, MI
11/01/07 – Ibid
11/29/07 – Flint Journal, Flint, MI
Ladora Gibson – 38 Sterling Heights, MI
11/26/07 – Detroit News, Detroit, MI
11/26/07 – Detroit Free Press, Detroit, MI
11/26/07 – Macomb Daily, Mt. Clemens, MI
Tracy Grandberry – 34 Warren, MI
06/13/07 – Warren Weekly, Warren, MI
Tara Lynn Grant – 34 Washington Twp., MI
03/04/07 – Detroit Free Press, Detroit, MI

The 2007 Homicide List was collected by the Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board (MDVPTB).  For more information, contact the Michigan Resource Center on Domestic Violence & Sexual Violence, Resource Center at 3893 Okemos Road, Suite B2, Okemos, MI 48864 or www.resourcecenter.info.