HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD) - A man accused of killing two men in 2011 has admitted to one of the murders, according to a Barry County Sheriff's Department investigator.
The detective working the case testified at a probable cause hearing before a Barry County magistrate on May 14.
During that hearing the detective said, "April 18th of this year I had a interview with Harold James Ordway. Harold admitted to shooting Paul Atchley while he slept in the bed of his pickup truck. 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."
The detective also outlined other evidence in the case already revealed in federal court documents. Ordway was found with blood splattered on his clothes, on the gun found in his pickup truck, and in the bed of the vehicle where Atchley was known to sleep.
That blood matched DNA from a red hat, which is identical to one Atchley, 53, was known to wear. A single bullet shell casing was found in a covered area at Ordway's parents' home on Manning Lake Road in Delton, where Ordway would park his truck, and where Atchley would sleep at night.
Federal investigators say Ordway shot and killed Atchley to cover up the alleged murder of another man, Michael VanBuskirk, who had been living at a home Ordway owned on Woodward Avenue in Battle Creek. VanBuskirk's body was found in October 2011 in Kalamazoo County.
Investigators still won't say how VanBuskirk, 33, died. No charges have been filed yet in the death of VanBuskirk, but investigators are working the case and may be close.
Ordway is due back in a Barry County courtroom in the Atchley case on May 22.
As for federal charges, in November 2012, Ordway pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. The U.S. Attorneys Office says it intends to use the evidence of Ordway's link to the deaths of VanBuskirk and Atchley at the sentencing hearing. They are asking a federal judge to give Ordway a longer sentence based on the other cases.
Ordway's attorney is arguing that such a sentence amounts to putting his client in prison for a crime for which he has not been convicted. Ordway was to be sentenced April 18, but the hearing was pushed back to June 24 to give prosecutors time to decide if they would file criminal charges in the murder cases. It is unclear how these new charges will affect the federal sentencing.
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