Vitale murder suspect charged; funeral arrangements set

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids man accused of fatally stabbing Joey Vitale inside the pizza restaurant he ran is now charged with open murder.

Tony Devern Streets Jr., 33, was also formally charged Friday afternoon with armed robbery, carjacking and being a habitual offender – his fourth offense.

When the judge asked Streets if he had any questions during Friday’s arraignment, Streets replied, “Nah, it’s alright.”

Investigators say Streets caused a disturbance inside Burton Heights Pizza Wednesday night and refused to leave the restaurant. Witnesses say when Vitale tried to calm down Streets, he stabbed him.

A witness said Vitale acknowledged he knew Streets, but it’s unclear how. Employees think the stabbing was random.

After the stabbing, police say Streets ran from the restaurant, robbed a person in the parking lot and tried to steal a car from another person.

After the attack, Vitale tried to drive from the restaurant at 315 Burton St. SW to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s for help. Witnesses say someone tried to hop into the car with him, but he took off.

Vitale’s car ultimately crashed on Wealthy Street near LaGrave Avenue SE, not far from the hospital. A nearby officer came to his aid before he was taken to the hospital by ambulance. 

Vitale, 31, died Thursday morning from his stab wounds, the medical examiner confirmed. He leaves behind a wife and two young daughters.

Vitale’s Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 11 a.m. Monday at Our Lady of Sorrows, located at 101 Hall Street SE in Grand Rapids. Vitale’s family will greet loved ones Sunday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Stegenga Funeral Chapel in Wyoming, located at 3131 S. Division Ave. Visitation will also take place an hour before the funeral mass.

Prayers of the rosary will be recited at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the funeral chapel, according to the online obituary for Vitale. Memorial contributions can be left at the chapel to establish a fund for Vitale’s daughters. A GoFundMe has also been created to establish the fund.

Streets has a long criminal record of assaults. He was first arrested at 10 years old for criminal sexual assault, records show.

The judge Friday denied Streets bond. 

Streets’ next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 16.

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