Suspects charged with open murder for death of Frederic man
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Two downstate men were denied bond as they were officially charged for the murder of a Frederic man last week.
Dylan Ross Ziegler, 18, of Romulus, and Matthew Franklin Smith, 36 of Canton, were both arraigned in Crawford County District Court on Wednesday, July 11.
The men are accused of killing Dennis Everson, 64, from Frederic, who was reported missing by family members on Friday, July 6. The family told Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputies that Everson had not been heard from since Monday, July 2.
On Saturday, July 7, Everson’s body was found on family-owned property. It was determined that Everson had been bludgeoned to death several days prior to his body being discovered.
After a four-day investigation completed by the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police detectives, Smith was arrested on Tuesday, July 10, following a traffic stop downstate. Crawford County Sheriff Kirk A. Wakefield said they believe Smith was attempting to flee to Ohio. Shortly after Smith’s arrest, Ziegler was arrested in one of two homes that Smith was spotted leaving while they were under surveillance.
Both men said they collected scrap metal and did landscaping for a living.
Smith claimed he had no involvement with Everson’s death after Crawford County Attorney Magistrate Camarin L. Talarico denied him bond and said he would remain in jail pending further court proceedings. Crawford County Prosecutor Sierra R. Koch asked that Smith be denied bond because he is considered a flight risk, and also because of the seriousness of the offense and violent nature of crime.
“I did not commit this crime,” Smith said. “I believe the police have a misunderstanding and I am being held unjustifiably.”
Ziegler remained stone faced and obstinate as Talarico was reading him his fair trial rights during his arraignment.
“It’s hard for me to understand,” Ziegler said. “I’m just being truthful.”
He had a bruise and scratch under one of his eyes.
After going through the trial rights point-by-point, Ziegler was more cordial with Talarico, addressing her questions with “yes ma’am” answers.
Grayling attorney Don Sommerfeld Jr. was appointed to represent Smith. Attorney Michael B. Brown, also from Grayling, was appointed to represent Ziegler.
Pre-trial dates were scheduled for Tuesday, July 24. A preliminary examination, where prosecutors must present sufficient evidence for the two men to face a jury trial, were scheduled for Tuesday, July 31.
Smith and Ziegler face up to life in prison, if convicted.