SPENCER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - The brother of the man accused of killing his live-in girlfriend says anger over inappropriate text messages from another person may have sparked the fight that lead to her death.
Kent County sheriff's investigators say 51-year-old Scott Hammer killed his 29-year-old girlfriend Danielle Scholten-Linderman and then set the house they had been renovating on fire.
Scott Hammer was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in the death of Scholten-Linderman, whose body was found Wednesday morning at a home on Lincoln Lake Road in Spencer Township, which is in northern Kent County. The Kent County Prosecutor's Office authorized a charge of open murder against him.
According to the sheriff’s department, Scholten-Linderman and Hammer began to struggle with one another sometime early Wednesday morning. That struggle resulted in Scholten-Linderman’s death.
Beyond that, investigators aren't releasing many details.
But Burt Hammer tells 24 Hour News 8 his brother Scott called him about 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, saying he had killed Scholten-Linderman.
According to Burt Hammer, his brother had read the text messages on Scholten-Linderman's phone and became angry.
Burt said his brother told him over the phone that he was sorry, and asked him not to let Scholten-Linderman's two children -- and boy and a girl approximately ages 9 and 7, who were also staying at the house -- see her body.
Burt Hammer then went to the home's lower level, found the body and called police. He said none of the six other people in the home had heard the two argue Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
Burt Hammer says the couple sometimes argued, but he never saw any of those arguments get physical or violent.
"He'd pout, she'd leave. She'd pout, he's leave," said Burt Hammer.
He said he's at a loss to explain what happened. Some family members told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday night that they think Scott Hammer just snapped.
Hammer also posted a long statement on his Facebook page around 7 a.m. -- after Scholten-Linderman was killed -- accusing her of cheating on him.
Scholten-Linderman and Scott Hammer had been staying at the home with family as the couple renovated their residence -- an old farmhouse -- in Montcalm County.
After killing Scholten-Linderman, Hammer left the home on Lincoln Lake Road and went to the farmhouse on Wise Road in Montcalm County’s Sidney Township, sheriff’s officials said. He then set the home on fire.
Authorities don't know why Hammer set the house on fire.
Scott Hammer was arrested Wednesday morning by a Montcalm County sheriff's deputy near Stanton.
Burt Hammer said his brother was headed to the sheriff's department to turn himself in when deputies caught up with him.
The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police fire marshal are investigating the arson at the home in Sheridan Township.
We get a brief break from the "lake-effect machine" Friday.
A few flurries occurred Thursday night. Lows held in the teens and the wind relaxed to the 5 to 10 mph range, with 20s at the Lake Michigan.
On Thursday, the medical examiner's office said CMU student Kelly Markatos died as a result of the eating disorder bulimia.