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Arraignment for Mt. Pleasant homicide suspect concludes Wednesday morning

WNEM Saginaw logo WNEM Saginaw 6/9/2021
a man smiling for the camera © Source: Michigan State Police.

The arraignment for Isaiah Gardenhire, the suspect accused in the homicide of a 13-year-old girl and the sexual assault of her mother in Isabella County, reconvened Wednesday morning.

Gardenhire was partially arraigned after being disorderly during the arraignment and failing to cooperate on Tuesday.

“This is certainly a horrific tragedy and a completely senseless loss of life,” Isabella County Prosecutor David Barberi said.

After that incident, police said he was hiding in a nearby apartment complex for some time, struck a tenant living at the building, went into the apartment holding the male tenant and a female tenant hostage, while Gardenhire sexually assaulted the female.

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He then stole the victims' money and their car before getting arrested on Monday night, according to the prosecutor. Gardenhire was arraigned on a 12-count complaint including homicide, open murder, and criminal sexual conduct.

“That arraignment as you may have seen did not go to completion,” Barberi said.

That is because Gardenhire was disorderly, interrupting the judge and even flipping off the camera. On Tuesday, Barberi revealed Gardenhire has a history of being in trouble with the law.

“It does include violent offenses, weapons offenses and other crimes of that nature,” Barberi said.

He said Gardenhire was recently on bond for second-degree criminal sexual conduct in another county.

“It’s my understanding that his bond was set at $7,500 with a 10 percent cash surety. I believe he posted the $750 and was out on bond," Barberi said.

Barberi is unsure of what led to that decision, considering Gardenhire's criminal history. He said it's the byproduct of a softer approach to criminal justice.

“This is the unfortunate consequence, the unintended consequence of no cash bail and bail reform,” Barberi said.

Barberi said had Gardenhire not been released on bond, a family wouldn't be grieving.

“Had he remained in custody, frankly, I don’t think this incident would’ve occurred,” Barberi said.

Gardenhire is being held on a $3 million bond. A probable cause hearing has been set for June 17.

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