HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD) - A man accused of shooting his friend while he slept in the bed of a pickup truck plans to plead guilty to murder, according to court documents.
Harold Ordway was charged in Barry County on May 14 with open murder, felony firearm and being a second-offense habitual offender. Authorities allege he shot and killed 53-year-old Paul Atchley in September 2011.
Federal court documents show Ordway plans to plead guilty to the murder. In the documents, Ordway's attorney says the plea could come as early as next week.
Because of the expected plea, according to the federal court documents, Ordway's attorney is not objecting to the increased sentencing guidelines in federal court based upon his connection to the murder of Atchley and the death of Michael VanBuskirk, for which no charges have been filed.
"Harold admitted to shooting Paul Atchley while he slept in the bed of his pickup truck," a Barry County Sheriff's Department detective testified during a May 14 probable cause hearing. "Said he shot him at least five times with the final shot being in the head. He shot him with the .22 rifle that was found in the pickup truck. He said that he felt threatened by Atchley but could not provide any specific threats or reasons why he felt threatened. He told me that he intended to kill Atchley when he shot him. After he shot him, he drove his body to a rural area and covered it -- dumped it into some type of field and/or wooded area and covered it with dirt. As of yet the body's not been recovered."
Ordway was arrested on Sept. 2, 2011 when an officer responding to a minor traffic crash in which Ordway was involved noticed a bloody mattress in the back of his pickup truck. Ordway could not explain the blood and was arrested on a weapons charge.
Not long after Ordway's arrest, authorities realized Atchley was missing. He had been staying with Ordway at Ordway's parent's house and sleeping in the back of the truck.
Investigators then discovered that another man connected to Ordway, 33-year-old Michael VanBuskirk, was missing. The father of three had been living at Ordway's home in Battle Creek to help with a remodeling project, police said. VanBuskirk's remains were found in October 2011 in Kalamazoo County and identified in January 2012. The cause of death has not yet been released.
No charges have yet been filed in his death, but investigators continue to look into the case.
In November 2012, Ordway pleaded guilty to federal firearm charges. Federal authorities were prepared to argue at his sentencing that he had killed both Atchley and VanBuskirk -- which they said he had admitted to while in jail. But a federal judge delayed the sentencing to allow the local prosecutors to decide if they would charge Ordway with any crimes.
On Tuesday, the Barry County prosecutor said that the county is working on a plea deal with Ordway.
Ordway is expected back in district court for a hearing on June 12.
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