By Annette Christie
Mitchell refuses plea deal; Seeks change in Court assignment
A former police officer has turned down a plea deal while his attorney seeks to have his case moved to the Drug Treatment Court. Kraig Mitchell, 33, of Kalamazoo was offered a plea deal to plead guilty to either tampering with evidence and possession of analogues or obstruction of justice and possession of cocaine.
Mitchell is charged with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, possession of narcotics or cocaine less than 25 grams, and possession of a controlled substance, analogues. The four counts are related to the theft of controlled substances under the possession or control of the department. He was working for the Coloma Charter Township Police Department as a patrolman when on January 10, 2017 he was discovered to be in possession of a heroin/fentanyl mix and codeine tablets.
Mitchell is charged with allegedly taking that mixture from the scene of an overdose death he participated in investigating that day in Coloma Township. Later the same day, it is alleged that Mitchell was found to be in possession of pills containing codeine (a schedule III controlled substance). The pills were allegedly taken from the township’s MedReturn Box, a secure unit in place for citizens to deposit unused pills and medicine, while an inventory of the deposited drugs was being completed.
Published reports state that Mitchell’s attorney, Donald Sappanos, told the Court that he would like assurance from the Prosecutor’s office that if his client takes the deal, that his case would be transferred to the Drug Treatment Court where Mitchell could get services he might need. Further, Sappanos said that Mitchell acknowledges having a drug problem and he is seeking help.
Couple tries to get a gun into the courthouse
At approximately 8:45 a.m. on May 30, 2017, two subjects attempted to enter the Berrien County Courthouse with a loaded firearm inside a purse. The firearm was discovered by Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Court Security Officers in the x-ray machine during the normal screening process.
Once the firearm was detected, the male subject grabbed the purse and attempted to flee the scene. Both subjects were given verbal commands to stop and they failed to do so. They fled the courthouse entrance area.
Court Security Deputies and Bailiffs were able to apprehend both subjects in the courthouse parking lot without further incident. A loaded semi-automatic was recovered during the apprehension of the two subjects.
Arnelda Dywayne Jackson, 40, of Wyoming, Michigan was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon, resisting and obstructing police, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Molly Michiell Jackson 37, of Wyoming, Michigan was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon and resisting and obstructing police.
Both are lodged at the Berrien County Jail.
Holiday weekend traffic deaths
Preliminary reports indicate eight people lost their lives in eight separate traffic crashes during the 2017 Memorial Day holiday weekend. In comparison, six people were killed in five traffic crashes during the 2016 Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Of the eight deadly crashes: Restraints were not used in four, alcohol use was a known factor in one of the deadly crashes, two involved motorcycles (a helmet was not worn in one and it is unknown if a helmet was used in the other), and one victim was a bicyclist.
“These numbers are preliminary and only reflect those fatalities reported to the Michigan State Police as of 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 30,” stated Spl/F/Lt. Jim Flegel, MSP Traffic Safety Specialist. “We continue to urge motorists to use proper restraints and to never drive while impaired on alcohol or drugs or while distracted.”
The 2017 Memorial Day weekend ran from 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 26 through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 29, 2017.