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July 31, 2013

Prosecutors re-charge men for threatening Warren police

Judge previously threw out terrorism charges; prosecutor cites new evidence

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

WARREN — Two men who faced up to 20 years in jail for allegedly threatening Warren police on Facebook earlier this year again face the same charges previously dismissed by a district court judge.

Citing new evidence reportedly obtained through a search warrant for Facebook’s records, Macomb County prosecutors have re-authorized the most serious charges leveled at Richard Walker, 18, of Warren, and Brandon Davis, 21, of Center Line.

Walker and Davis were charged earlier this year with threat of terrorism charges, resisting arrest and for possessing an illegal short rifle after investigators alleged the pair made threatening statements on Facebook about Warren police and posted photos of themselves brandishing weapons.

However, 37th District Court Judge Matthew Sabaugh dismissed the terrorism charges after a preliminary examination in April.

Sabaugh ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove Walker and Davis actually posted violent statements about needing “tru soldiers” and “more cop killers” to “kill more cops” on their own Facebook pages in the days after a traffic stop in January. The judge also said it was impossible to tell where the statements were posted, and thus, even if the defendants did post them, where they should be charged.

Sabaugh ordered the men to stand trial in Macomb County Circuit Court on the weapons charge and for resisting arrest, both five-year felonies, while prosecutors unsuccessfully petitioned Circuit Court Judge Mary Chrzanowski to reinstate the terrorism charge.

Walker’s trial on the other charges remains pending, but Davis entered into a plea that allowed him to go free on probation July 2 with credit for 180 days served in jail earlier this year. 

Davis’ attorney, Warren McAlpine, said Chrzanowski had agreed to have the case taken under advisement through the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, meaning the charges could have been wiped from his record if he completed probation.
Tony Scott, Davis’ father, said his son was out of jail for just six days and had found a job when he was arrested on the re-authorized threat-of-terrorism charge.

“I think it’s garbage, harassment, misusing the county’s money,” Scott said. “I think they’re wasting the taxpayers’ money now.”

At the latest hearing on the re-authorized charges, McAlpine and Walker’s attorney, Brian Selburn, told the court they intended to file a joint motion to dismiss the allegations.

“I’m not going to sit idly by and let it happen,” Selburn said.

Because Davis had already been granted probation on the other charges, Sabaugh agreed to lower his bond to $20,000, against the objection of Assistant Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney Derek Miller.

Davis was free on bond July 24 and told the Warren Weekly over the phone that police were waiting for him when he showed up to visit his probation officer in early July.

“I got a job. I started doing everything I was supposed to,” said Davis, who denied the Facebook page and called police liars.

Walker has been in custody since late January and remained held in the Macomb County Jail with bail totaling $150,000 as of July 24, according to jail staff.

Miller declined to discuss the specifics of the new evidence after the hearing July 18.

“The other information we’re bringing is going to go towards establishing the venue, and it authenticates that the defendants actually did this,” Miller said.

A hearing on the motion to dismiss the charges will be held in Sabaugh’s courtroom at 9 a.m. Aug. 8.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.