By Annette Christie
Bailey claims Self-Defense in Shooting Death
Derrick Bailey, 22 of Coloma, is stating that it was in self-defense that he shot Nicholaus Kling, 37, of Eau Claire.
Berrien County Prosecutor Mike Sepic said in a press release that in the early evening hours of May 1, 2017, Bailey, while in the front passenger seat of a stopped vehicle, was confronted by Kling at the intersection of Red Arrow Highway and Benton Center Road in Benton Charter Township. While still in the vehicle, Bailey drew a firearm and shot Kling, who was outside the vehicle. Kling was shot three times in the chest and face causing his death. Bailey was the current boyfriend of the female driver of the vehicle and Kling was her recent ex-boyfriend. Bailey was found at the scene and arrested by Benton Township Police. A firearm was recovered at the scene.
At a preliminary hearing held last week, the female driver, Jade Roy, told the Berrien County Trial Court that she had been at Kling’s house earlier in the day and that she told him that she was going to date another man. She said Kling had sent her text messages and called her multiple times after she left his home. She said she told Bailey that he may or may not be at her home when they got there.
Roy said that as she turned onto Benton Center Road, Kling was standing in the road with his vehicle nearby. She told the court that he got in front of her vehicle and so she stopped her car. Roy testified that Kling pointed to Bailey and said that he was going to f…ing kill him, which she said he repeated again as he proceeded around the car to Bailey’s side. She said that she saw Kling punching Bailey but that he was blocking it with his arm and the next thing she knew, Bailey shot him.
Bailey was the one who called 911 to report the shooting. He did tell Benton Charter Township Police Sgt. Steven Morrow that he shot Kling.
Berrien County Trial Court Judge Scott Schofield asked Prosecutor Patty Ceresa and Public Defender Carl Macpherson to file briefs on case law related to open murder and self-defense. The next court date is set for June 2 at which time it is expected that the judge will rule on whether Bailey should be bound over for trial.
Bailey is charged with Open Murder, a charge that encompasses 1st Degree and 2nd Degree Murder, (both life maximums), charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon, (a 5-year felony), and Felony Firearm, (a mandatory 2-year consecutive felony).
The case was investigated by the Benton Charter Township Police Department.