From David — A weblog (with full archive)

October 10, 2019 –Christopher McMillan’s guilty plea

In exchange for lesser charges–second degree murder and conspiracy to commit homicide–Christopher Wayne McMillan pled guilty today in Eaton County Circuit Court. The quid pro quo is that he is going to testify truthfully during a preliminary examination for Dineane Ducharme, scheduled to begin Nov. 19. He also will testify against Beverly McCallum when (not if) she is extradited from Pakistan. Here is the entire court proceeding.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in January–15 years.

Lots of thoughts but those can come later. Interesting, there were no other cameras in the courtroom and I don’t think there was any other reporter. That’s odd.

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October 1, 2019 — Adrian Dekker has passed

Adrian Dekker led a long, good, and full life. He has died at age 96. And even in these last years he has remained steadfast in wanting to know who killed his sister, Mina, in 1938. At the time Adrian was 14 years old.

It has been my great honor to work with Adrian over the last 15 years through interviews, research, posting long-form interviews. I had not seen him much in the last two years, but before that I would on occasion stop in to see him and we’d talk. He loved his late wife, his daughters, and both his sisters, one taken far too soon. But he deeply wanted to know what had happened in that third floor office/storeroom in the Judd Building at 64 Ionia Street on the balmy Saturday, March 5. As far as he was concerned, Calvin DeBlaey was the perpetrator. He was almost certain. But he wasn’t positive. He thought DeBlaey had as good as confessed to then-Chief of Police, Frank J. O’Malley. Oh, the case made headlines. Adrian remembered people at the funeral coming up to Mina’s casket trying to catch a glimpse of her savaged head. Three small pieces of her skull had been dislodged in the beating with a weapon that might have been a hammer (never found). Those pieces went into evidence where I believe they remain.

The investigation has dragged on for years and decades. John Robinson, who later lead the equivalent of the major case squad, would welcome new recruits to the force with a chance to look over the file and take a whack at solving it. He believed that new eyes might see something everybody else had missed.

One of the conversations Adrian and I had dealt with the death penalty. I thought, given the circumstances, that he might be for it. He asked me my stand and I told him that I could not countenance it. Oh, sure, I thought plenty deserved it, but it went against everything I believed. To my surprise, he agreed. He was a man of peace.

It’s also my belief that while we have been looking through a glass darkly, he now knows, face to face.

Requiescat in pace old friend.

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September 27, 2019 — A plea scheduled for Christopher Wayne McMillan

Christopher Wayne McMillan, charged in the 2002 murder of Roberto Caraballo, is scheduled to enter a plea at 11:15 a.m. October 10 in the courtroom of Eaton County Circuit Court Judge Janice K. Cunningham.

This is according to his attorney, John H. Deming. I had noted the McMillan was scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Nov. 6 and called the court clerk for more details. She didn’t know, so I called Mr. Deming and he alerted me that the pretrial hearing was likely obviated because his client was going to plead guilty. To all three charges? That he didn’t know. In any event, McMillan is formally charged with HOMICIDE – OPEN MURDER – STATUTORY SHORT FORM; HOMICIDE – OPEN MURDER – STATUTORY SHORT FORM – CONSPIRE; DEAD BODIES – DISINTERMENT & MUTILATION. To you and me it’s likely murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and mutilation.

I made another call to the court clerk and she said the matter had not yet been scheduled through her office; the paperwork had not arrived there. So there may be a change in the “when.” I have call in to the judge’s assistant for any further information that I might solicit.

One of the two others charged in the murder has been arrested and is in custody. Stepdaughter Dineane Ducharme is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Nov. 19. As I understand it, the third charged, Beverly Ducharme McCallum, Caraballo’s wife at the time of his murder, remains at liberty in Pakistan. We are likely to learn of her extradition only after the fact.

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September 3, 2019 — Preliminary Hearing November 19 for Dineane Ducharme

A telephone call this afternoon to the Eaton County Prosecuting Attorney’s office revealed that Dineane Ducharme is scheduled to have her preliminary hearing at a 9 a.m. November 19 before District Court (56A) Judge Julie H. Reincke. She has long since been arraigned. There exists the possibility that she might waive her preliminary, so I will have to check before I go. Her attorney, G. Michigan Hocking, had nothing to say to me on the subject.

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September 3, 2019 — Missed that one — Dineane Ducharme is in Eaton County custody

Each week I would use an inmate locator to see if Dineane Ducharme had been extradited from Texas to Eaton County in the matter of the murder of her step-father,  Roberto Higüey Alejandro Caraballo, 37. Ducharme is accused of the murder along with Chris McMillan, and Ducharme’s mother, Beverly McCallum. They beat him to death with at least one hammer and perhaps another instrument on or about May 7, 2002 in the basement of the home Caraballo, McCallum, and Ducharme, shared 334 Horatio Street, Charlotte.

One Chris McMillan allegedly also was on hand to assist in the murder. His arrest came first in November of 2018. The arrest warrants for Ducharme and McCallum went out at the same time. None of those warrants came to light until last April when Lansing State Journal reporter Kara Berg found a court proceeding in a first degree murder arrest against McMillan and reported it. (Shortly thereafter followed a press conference…all in these pages.) And while McMillan was scooped up first in Grand Rapids, Ducharme was in jail in Texas and it was going to take some time to bring her to Eaton County.

So I waited and I looked…and I completely missed it. It took a return call from Detective Sergeant John Ivey of the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department today to set me straight. Using his choice of inmate finder, Vinelink.com, he led me right to her. (And you can replicate that yourself.) Moreover, he told me she had been in Eaton County custody since May 24.

Oh. Thank you.

And it may be that her preliminary hearing is in November. (These things often change.)

Now, that leaves Caraballo’s wife, Beverly Ducharme McCallum (and a long list of aliases) as on the run. And she is a whole other story. Evidently when she caught word that her daughter was talking to retired Detective Bob Donker in Ottawa County about the murder (yep, that’s how it started unravelling in 2015), McCallum married a Pakistani doctor as a sort of internet bride and had since then been living there. The U.S. and Pakistan have an extradition treaty but these things really can take time. It hasn’t happened yet.

Eaton Country has a warrant for her arrest, but it will take the help of the U.S. State Department for what Ivey called an extraditable warrant. He noted other cases in Mexico where it’s taken upward of two years to bring home a fugitive. So, I asked, who could tell me about the progress in this case?

Well, that would be someone from the State Department. So I have reached out through the department’s media division. Here’s what I wrote:

I am following up on a request for the extradition from Pakistan of Beverly Ducharme McCallum wanted in the murder of Roberto Caraballo on or about May 7, 2002. She fled the country roughly in 2015.

Where do things stand? Any estimates?

And so, I wait a little more. But I am grateful to have some answers and that Dineane is right now where she needs to be.

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July 1, 2019 — Another arrest in the Wilda Wilkinson murder

I have been off the grid from some time, doing filming in California. While I was absent, the 1986 Wilda Wilkinson murder was solved. Here is the account from the Detroit Free Press. And this from WWMT.

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May 12, 2019 — A look at the house

This past week I had business in Charlotte, the scene of the 2002 murder of Roberto Higüey Alejandro Caraballo, 37. Before he was identified Caraballo had been dubbed “Jack in the Box,” by Ottawa County Sheriff Department investigator Detective Bob Donker (retired) for the manner in which he was found…his corpse burned beyond recognition and identification in a footlocker that had been carried (not dragged) into a wood near a blueberry field south of Grand Haven. I looked for the address of what Eaton County investigators have identified as the scene of his murder, 334 Horatio. Investigators found evidence that indicates that he was assaulted in the basement here.

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May 4, 2019 — Charges dropped against Michael Leon Curry

Arrested March 18th for the July 29, 1986 murder of Wilda Wilkinson, Michael Curry was released April 26, according to Channel 8, WOODTV8.

Reporter Leon Hendrix says that the VanBuren County prosecuting attorney will be giving more details next week.

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April 17, 2019 — The swear-to hearing

The day after the press conference, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Eaton County seeking information about the arrest warrants. I wanted to know more of the story. It was denied in large part and only the arrest complaints were granted. That was something. What I SHOULD HAVE asked for was a copy of the swear-to hearing that outlined much of the crime directly from the court. I’ve been schooled, thank you very much. And here it is. This is what I was after:

Note the start and end times: 5-5:16 p.m. It sure looks like this hearing was intended to be out of the public view. The court closes its doors at 5 p.m. Is there a compelling reason for all this to be in secret? That’s up to the prosecutor and judge to explain. There was only one person giving testimony, Detective James Maltby, and he worked for the county, so he could have been ordered to appear just about any time.

Doing the people’s business in secret is not doing the people’s business.

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April 17, 2019 — Oh, this begins to tell the story

Lansing State Journal reporter Kara Berg has really done her job. Here is the beginning of the story of what happened.

Here is the victim, the son of teachers, a father, and allegedly murdered by his wife, stepdaughter, and her friend.

 Roberto Higüey Alejandro Caraballo, 37

The idea that Roberto Caraballo was still alive when a plastic bag was put over his head to suffocate him…. When I made the film investigators gave that as one possibility. The other was the there was so much blood that it had to be caught. Much more to come.

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