Man faces trial for lying to police in Spires case

Stutzman heads to trial for obstruction on Tuesday

Stutzman

BIG RAPIDS — A LeRoy man whose lies about his involvement in the homicide of Kristin Spires led to the wrongful arrest of three suspects will face trial Tuesday.

Kepha Yaaqob Stutzman, 19, is charged with three five-year felony charges of obstruction of justice for lying to police about his involvement in the disappearance of Spires, a 20-year-old Barryton resident who went missing in May 2010.

Along with those charges is a habitual offender notice, regarding Stutzman’s role in the robbery of a Big Rapids Admiral station earlier this year. If convicted, he could face one and a half times the maximum sentence because of this offense.

Proceedings will begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday in Mecosta County’s 49th Circuit Court and are scheduled to conclude on Wednesday.

During the investigation of Spires’ death, Stutzman acted as a witness to police, alleging he was at a house party where she was last seen. However, he was incarcerated in Osceola County at the time and could not have been involved in her disappearance or death. Because he was jailed on a misdemeanor and probation violation, something that is not logged in LEIN, investigators did not have record of that jail time.

The unraveling of Stutzman’s story led to a dismissal of charges for 22-year-old Corey Crank, 38-year-old Anthony Rollins and 18-year-old Anthony Walker, all of Big Rapids. Crank and Rollins were released from jail in June while Walker remains behind bars also for obstructing justice in Spires’ case.

The first obstruction charge addresses lies Stutzman told during nine seperate police interviews earlier this year. Count two addresses the wrongful implication of Big Rapids resident George Crank, who never was charged. Count three deals with the arrests of Walker, Rollins and Corey Crank, who were held in Mecosta County Jail on charges of being accessories to a felony after the fact as police believed they helped hide Spires’ body after her death.

Stutzman remains incarcerated at St. Louis Correctional Facility because his current prison sentence supersedes the $100,000 bond that otherwise would have been set for the charges.

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Posted by Whitney Gronski-Buffa

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