On Feb. 15, after a long preliminary exam with three witnesses testifying, 34th District Court Judge Brian A. Oakley dismissed the felon in possession of a weapon charge against Tony Robin Standifer and the second weapons charge fell away based on the dismissal, leaving Standifer free of charges.
Standifer, 58, was charged after a shooting incident on Jan. 27 at his home at 43624 Willow Road in Sumpter Township.
Standifer’s retained attorney Brian Montoye convinced Judge Oakley that the felony Standifer had been convicted of in the past (receiving and concealing stolen property of $20,000 or more) and served 93 days for was not the class of felony that prohibits him from possessing a fire arm.
Montoye read the law to the judge and prosecutor that said an “unspecified felony,” such as Standifer’s, makes him eligible to own a fire arm after three years, completion of probation, and payment of all fines. It was not a violent crime, he said.
Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Greg Akaraz said testimony showed that Standifer told police he shouldn’t have a gun, but Judge Oakley said, “You can’t prosecute someone just because he’s stupid of the law.”
Judge Oakley asked Prosecutor Akaraz to counter the law cited by Montoye and he couldn’t cite anything in opposition at the moment. Judge Oakley said the burden was on the prosecution to oppose the defense assertion.
After the court session, Akaraz said he would appeal Judge Oakley’s ruling because he is sure there is law to support the charges they filed against Standifer.
It all started at about 9:10 p.m., Jan. 27, when Sumpter police were called to a residence at 43796 Willow responding to a call for service after Steven McKinney, Jr. showed up on the back porch of the home drunk and incoherent, according to testimony by Sumpter Sgt. Brian Steffani.
McKinney reportedly told police his S-10 pickup was “across the creek or ditch.” He never said he had been assaulted, according to testimony. Police went out to look for the truck, thinking there may have been a drunk-driving accident, testimony said.
While officers were outside speaking with that homeowner, about a dozen shots of gunfire were heard at the Standifer residence next door.
When they got to that location, officers found a 28-year-old male lying face down in the driveway next to a vehicle riddled with bullet holes with the passenger door open. The male, Erin Standifer, suffered a gunshot wound to the right thigh. He was pulled to a safe location by Sumpter Officer Joseph Balowski, but the injured man was uncooperative with investigators before being transported by ambulance to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.
McKinney was taken to a hospital downriver, Det./Sgt. Toth testified.
The homeowner and victim’s father, Tony Standifer, admitted to firing the shots, but gave several conflicting stories as to why, according to testimony. He gave police permission to search his home for evidence concerning what he called an attempt to rob him and then later rescinded permission after police found two weapons, ammunition, and a large amount of cash in the home. After Standifer was determined to possibly be the victim, the cash was immediately returned, according to testimony.
After finding the wounded son, Sumpter police thought they had an active shooter in the house and called for backup. They could see someone moving inside the house shutting off lights.
Sumpter Det./Sgt. John Toth testified when he got to the scene, it was “chaos,” with officers from Huron Township, Van Buren Township, Huron-Clinton Metropark, and Michigan State Police at the scene, besides the Sumpter officers and Sumpter Police Chief Eric Luke.
After being asked to come out of the house, Standifer came out holding a cell phone to his ear and had one hand raised up in the air. He was put, handcuffed, into the back seat of a Huron Township patrol car, which was a safe distance from the house, and later released.
Standifer was highly intoxicated, but Det./Sgt. Toth testified he could understand what Standifer was saying. He said someone had tried to rob him and he was fighting for his life.
Sgt. Steffani testified there was blood throughout the residence and blood soaking into the carpet in the family room. Tony Standifer had no injuries except to his knuckles, according to testimony.
The truck parked right next to the west side of the residence had multiple bullet holes in it, Sgt. Steffanti said. He testified it had blood and fatty tissue on the seat. This black Chevy S-10 truck, where Standifer’s son was found by police, was Steve McKinney’s missing truck.
Det./Sgt. Toth said later that he presented details on the whole incident to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and it decided to prosecute only on gun charges.
Terry Eldich Davis
Terry Eldich Davis, 48, was sentenced by video from the Wayne County Jail to 14 days, time served, by Judge Oakley after Davis pled guilty to a misdemeanor of failing to comply with signing a registration form as a sex offender.
He was put on six months of non-reporting probation. Davis gave Judge Oakley his new address in Ypsilanti and the judge ordered him to register with the police as soon as possible after release from jail. He had been charged with a failure to register as a sex offender on Oct. 18, 2014 in Van Buren Township and that charge was dismissed.
Andrea Leniece Rue
Andrea Leniece Rue, 29, had been charged with felony possession of controlled substance on Sept. 7, 2014 in VBT. The charge was amended to a misdemeanor, being in possession of a hypodermic needle (drug paraphernalia). Judge Oakley sentenced her to 12 months non-reporting probation and $645 in fines and costs. Her retained defense attorney Russell Anderson went over her past convictions for drug abuse and all the things she had done for her Oakland County sentence which included substance abuse classes, mental health sessions, seeing a psychiatrist once a month, 32 hours of community service, drug testing twice a week, and a new shot she is taking that works. She said she last violated in December.
Ward Lorne Schuyler
Ward Lorne Schuyler, 48, waived his preliminary exam on discharging a weapon in or at a building and weapons-felony firearm (using a firearm while committing a felony) on Jan. 27 in Sumpter Township. Judge Oakley bound him over to circuit court to face the charges on March 1.
Schuyler was free after posting bond of $50,000/10%. His court-appointed defense attorney was David Lankford.
Eddie Al Dusseau
The preliminary exam of Eddie Al Dusseau, 50, on charges of possession of controlled substance – narcotic or cocaine less than 25 grams and possession of marijuana in the city of Belleville on Nov. 17, 2014 was adjourned to another date at the request of retained defense attorney Michael Vincent. Officer in charge of the case is Belleville Cpl. Kris Faull.
James Forrest Chapman
Judge Oakley set yet another court date for James Forrest Chapman on a 2015 misdemeanor charge of refusing to give a DNA sample. This session is 11 a.m., May 10.
This charge had been dismissed by Oakley in 2015 and then circuit court overturned Oakley’s dismissal and sent it back to his courtroom. It has been adjourned regularly since then as Chapman’s attorney John Day tried, without success, to get the charge combined with a 2016 DNA refusal charge against Chapman tied to a charge of assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer.
That case is now set for a May 5 jury trial before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Margaret Van Houten.
Chapman, 57, of Van Buren Township, had a jury trial under way on the charges in October and a mistrial was called Oct. 27 by the judge following a health problem in the jury room and the entrance of a VBT police officer to help.
The trial was then re-set for Jan. 23 and now it has been re-set for May 5.
On Feb. 15 Judge Oakley said he was leaning toward dismissing this 2015 case again since it is not combined with the other 2016 DNA case.
An Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor said there is negotiation on a deal on Chapman’s case before Judge Van Houten and they are closer to a plea agreement. He said this case shouldn’t be dismissed now.
Attorney Day is not representing Chapman in the circuit court case.
Judge Oakley said they could adjourn this case until after the jury trial, but Chapman spoke out strongly saying he wanted it dismissed before the jury trial.
Attorney Day took Chapman out into the court hallway and spoke with him privately.
When they returned, Judge Oakley said if he doesn’t grant an adjournment, they would have to hold the exam and then it would be appealed and that is not a good use of court time.
“This is not a high priority case,” Judge Oakley said. “I promise you I will set a date if they delay again.”