Sumpter Township Police arrested two men for pulling a daytime home invasion that was so quiet the home’s occupants slept through it all.
The two men could be looking at life sentences, since there is a heavy penalty for breaking into an occupied home, said Sumpter Police Chief Jim Pierce. A knife was found on one of the men.
Arraigned July 1 at 34th District Court on first-degree home invasion charges were two 19-year-old Sumpter residents: Richard Levoid Johnson of Karr Road and Demetre Maurice Brown-Lovelace of Wear Road. Each must post a $100,000 cash bond for release, with no 10%. They are being held at the Wayne County Jail.
They will be back in court at 9 a.m. July 14 for preliminary exams in the 34th District courtroom of Chief Judge Tina Brooks Green, who will determine if there is enough evidence to bind them over to circuit court for trial.
It all started on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 29, when a neighbor to a home on Sumpter Road in the Dunn Road area, walked over to the police department to talk to Chief Jim Pierce, who was in the police department parking lot.
He said two black males were in the driveway of the house next door, knocking on the door and peeking in the windows. Then he heard glass break and he came over to tell police.
Chief Pierce said he drove partway up the driveway next door to the house and then walked up the drive.
He said he saw a man at the house who he had arrested several times before, most recently at Sumpter County Fest. Chief Pierce said the man looked at the chief and the chief looked at the man, and they both registered recognition.
Then, the man he knew (Johnson) rode a bike west into the woods, wearing a black T-shirt and carrying a backpack.
Another male, this one with a striped shirt (later identified as Brown-Lovelace), came out of the house and headed toward the woods in a northerly direction.
Chief Pierce said Belleville Police Chief Gene Taylor heard the pursuit on his radio and volunteered to help.
“Gene was in a position to see, observe, and apprehend the first guy on the bicycle,” Chief Pierce said, adding Taylor was savvy enough not to believe anything the man told him after he was apprehended.
The man had changed his shirt to another color and ditched his backpack in the woods.
When Taylor asked Johnson why he was so sweaty, he explained that he had been exercising by riding his bike in the woods.
There was shrubbery stuck in the bike’s chain, Chief Pierce said.
“Chief Taylor held him for me and I IDed him and arrested him,” Chief Pierce said.
The second man had cut his arm fleeing from the house and had left his blood at the scene. Chief Pierce said the man got away and made it to a house, where someone took him to the hospital.
“They probably passed right by us on their way to the hospital,” Chief Pierce said.
A Michigan State Police tracking dog followed the scent to the house and then the dog was taken to the hospital where it identified the man whose scent he had been tracking. The MSP Trooper Mirandized Brown-Lovelace and kept watch over him until Chief Pierce could arrive and take over.
Chief Pierce said doctors told him the tendons in Brown-Lovelace’s elbow were cut so badly the man will never have complete use of the arm again.
Both men were lodged in the Sumpter holding cells until they could be arraigned at 34thDistrict Court.
Officer John Toth questioned the men and said both had confessed to the crime.
“We have a small department and we have to bring people in to make a case,” Chief Pierce said, noting Officer Toth is good at interrogation.
“It couldn’t be avoided,” Chief Pierce said.
Meanwhile, the people in the house were sleeping didn’t know what was happening outside.
One of the suspects was found with a knife and Chief Pierce said it didn’t belong to the homeowner.
Chief Pierce said Sumpter Police had arrested the same two guys at Sumpter Fest. He recalls they were being “smart mouthed” and both had warrants and were arrested.
Others who were troublesome at the festival were issued “trespass” tickets and were not allowed to go to Sumpter Fest.
Johnson had been arrested for obstructing a police officer in March and in December was in custody for another offense and tried to commit suicide by trying to hang himself with a blanket.
Dispatcher Malissa Baker, who discovered Johnson’s attempt, said Chief Pierce gave him a good talking to at the time and, because of that face-to-face discussion, Pierce was able to recognize him at the crime scene.
Chief Pierce said Johnson was the first one to be put in the department’s new restraint chair while he calmed down.
Chief Pierce said Van Buren Police had used its restraint chair on one of Sumpter’s unruly arrestees recently and so Sumpter thought it should get such a chair, too. He said it has been very useful, when needed.