Sunday, November 24, 2013

Michigan OIDV cases of officers' spouses who supposedly committed suicide...

With The New York Times' and Frontline's recent coverage of the questionable investigation of Michelle O' Connell's death [girlfriend of Florida St. John Sheriff Deputy Jeremy Banks], Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence is highlighting this month its Michigan 'suicide' cases.

It's more common than you think - As suicide rulings are often based on what the officer himself claims happened to his spouse /girlfriend.

Unnamed girlfriend of Unnamed Detroit Police Officer commits suicide???

On July 23, 2013, Detroit Police Officer William Zeolla told fellow police officers that he found his girlfriend Angela Kolhagen in his backyard. According to Zeolla, while he was home, Angela took his service gun and went outside and shot herself. Zeolla then carried her body to the front yard - thus disturbing the possible crime scene.

All suicides are supposed to be treated like homicides - and it isn't until homicide can be outruled that a death is considered a sucide. In Angie's case, it appears that it was quickly decided that she had committed suicide because that's what Officer Zeolla said. End of story. Case closed.

Angie was so unimportant to the Detroit PD, that they did not release her name. After several days of OIDV specialists tracking down info on the victim, we came up with not only Angie's name but the name of her boyfriend: Officer William Zeolla.

More searching by our OIDV group on the mysterous Officer Zeolla and we discovered why the Detroit PD and his family and friends were protective of his identity: Zeolla has a long history of police brutality - backed up with lawsuits filed by his victims.

The officers, who have been involved in excessive-force lawsuits that collectively have cost the city $660,000 in settlements

At the time of Angie's death, Officer Zeolla and the Detroit PD were being sued for Zeolla excessive force in yet another case of police brutality....

Jennifer Webb  -  August 30, 2011

Officer Kenneth Bluew trial for JenniferWebb murder

On August 30, 2011 Jennifer Webb's lifeless body was discovered hanging at the Buena Vista PD gun range. At first, the Buena Vista PD handled Jennifer's death as a suicide.

But when Chief Brian Booker discovered that Jennifer was the girlfriend of one of his married officers - Kenneth Bluew - and that Jennifer was eight months pregnant with Bluew's son, the Chief turned Jennifer's death investigation over to the Michigan State Police.

Officer Kenneth Bluew was charged with the murder of Jennifer Webb and the death of his unborn son. On October 11, 2012 he was convicted and sentenced in November 2012 to life in prison.

The Michigan State Police's exemplary investigation of Jennifer's supposed suicide, should be mandated protocal for any "suicide" investigation of a police officer's spouse / girlfriend.

Lori Dekleine - January 10, 2008

On January 10, 2008, the body of Lori DeKleine - ex wife of Holland police officer Ken DeKleine - was found hanging in her basement. Ken's fellow officers immediately processed the scene as a suicide, not a homicide. It wasn't until Lori's divorce attorney - Holly Verde - contacted authorities and told them that Lori had feared for her life, that Lori's death was processed as a homicide - by the Michigan State Police.

The MSP investigation of Lori's murder revealed that Officer DeKleine had violated the protective order numerous times during the months leading up to Lori's death - And that the Holland PD did nothing. After Lori's murder, the Holland Police Chief John Kruithoff admitted during an interview with a news station that although Lori's PPO was on file with his police department, he had NEVER bothered to read it.

Had the Chief 'bothered' to read Lori's PPO, that she had obtained on January 31, 2007, he would have realized how much danger she was in. Lori outlined years of abuse which included rape; Ken abusing his police powers to stalk her and even plant a tape recorder on her.

Lori's PPO request:
"I have become increasingly terrified and afraid for my life..."

Kenneth DeKleine was convicted of Lori's murder in July 2008, and was sentenced to life in prison.

Officer Tabitha McCree, Detroit PD -
January 19, 2007

Murder or Suicide?

On January 19, 2007 Officer Tabitha McCree - who was off duty at the time - met with her ex-husband Jaimie McCree while he was on duty in a secluded area of Detroit.

And then there was gunfire, with Tabitha substaining a gun wound to her stomach. Tabitha told responding EMT and hospital personnel that her ex-husband Officer Jaimie McCree had shot her.

Tabitha died a few hours later, during surgery - At that point, with their witness / victim dead, the Detroit Police Department changed it's story and claimed that Tabitha had committed suicide.

"It was a self-inflicted gunshot wound," Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings said after the officer died at Detroit Receiving Hospital.

End of investigation. Hmmm....

Flint PD Dispatcher Kimberly Thompson - May 01, 1993

On May 01, 1993 Kimberly Thompson's ex-husband /former Michigan State Police trooper Douglas Wright visited her home to go over their divorce papers.

A few hours later, Kimberly was dead from a bullet wound. Wright claimed that he and Kimberly had
"drank hard, then fought even harder". According to Wright he went outside to cool off, and Kimberly, who had remained inside the home took his duty gun and shot herself.

The medical examiner concluded the evidence was conflicting and declined to say whether Kimberly's death was a suicide or a homicide. For years, it appeared as Kimberly's death would always go unresolved.

Then in 2000, newly elected Genessee County Sheriff Robert Pickell opened Kimberly's cold case file. Sheriff Pickell's investigation led to Wright being convicted for Kimberly's murder in 2003.

Wright is currently serving 25-50 years in prison for Kimberly's murder.

For more articles on officers' spouses who supposedly committed suicide:

"Too Many Said-Suicides of Law Enforcement Officer's wives, girlfriends, dates, and ex's"

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