KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A man faces manslaughter charges for stabbing and killing a father and son in Portage in January, court records show.
The records show the two counts of manslaughter were filed May 12. A week later, the suspect has not been arrested or arraigned.
The charges stem from the Jan. 10 deaths of 49-year-old Maurice Pearson of Kalamazoo and his son Xavier Pearson, 21. They were stabbed at Davis Creek Apartments & Flats on Meredith Street south of S. Sprinkle Road.
The man who police say stabbed the Pearsons, a 27-year-old, was jailed but released the next day while the prosecutor considered whether charges were appropriate.
PEARSON FAMILY QUESTIONS PROSECUTOR
The attorney for the Pearson family held a news conference Thursday at the Kalamazoo County Courthouse, questioning why the family has not heard from the prosecutor’s office about the developments in the case.
“These two had their lives taken abruptly from currently right now an individual who is being accused of manslaughter,” the attorney, Tyrone Bynum, said. “I don’t think those charges are appropriate but we’ll let the prosecutor do his job.”
He said the Pearson family was not informed by the prosecutor that an arrest warrant was issued but instead found out through the media days after it was issued.
“Don’t put any more burdens on an individual who lost two family members in one night,” he said. “There has been allegations that the family has been threatened by the individual who is the target of this investigation.”
He said the family should have been told about the warrant the day before it was issued in order to protect the family.
Sheran Pearson, the sister of Maurice Pearson and aunt of Xavier Pearson, also spoke at the news conference.
“A mother lost a son and a soul mate of 25 years. Four children lost their father and their brother,” she said. “To be frank, it is a disgrace the way this office has seen to come after the assailant, the way things have been handled here is an injustice.”
She said the family has been “walking on eggshells” around the prosecutor’s office.
“We have been going through hell and I’m sick and I’m tired of it, and I want justice to prevail, I want the city of Kalamazoo, the county of Kalamazoo to step up,” she said. “I want the prosecutor to do what he’s supposed to do: his job. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting declined to comment Thursday:
“In order to ensure the safety of the suspect, the other persons involved in this case, and of law enforcement, we don’t publicly comment on active cases until there is an arraignment,” he said in a statement to News 8.
REPORT: SUSPECT SAID HE FEARED FOR HIS LIFE
A report from the Portage Department of Public Safety says three people called 911 about the stabbing: a woman who screamed someone was trying to kill her dad and who was then disconnected; from the suspect’s ex-girlfriend reporting he had been “jumped” and that her father and brother were hurt; and a man who said he had been “jumped” and that he had stabbed people.
Responding officers found the Maurice and Xavier Pearson with multiple stab wounds. They handcuffed the suspect, noting his “face was very swollen and was covered in blood.”
The suspect told an officer that Maurice and Xavier Pearson were the father and brother of his ex-girlfriend, with whom he has children. He said that he had recently had a dispute with his ex-girlfriend’s sister that included her hitting him and him hitting her back.
The suspect’s ex-girlfriend said they had broken up last year after he abused her. She moved out with her kids but the suspect would often come over to spend time with the children. She said her family did not like him and that her father had threatened to hurt him after the fight involving her sister.
According to the report, the suspect said the Pearson’s came into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and “started beating on him.” He said Maurice Pearson attacked him first and then told Xavier Pearson to “get his licks in.”
He told investigators he was afraid he was going to die. He said he spotted his folding pocketknife and “‘just began swinging’ at ‘whatever he could’ to ‘get them off of me.'” He recalled stabbing both of them repeatedly, though he couldn’t say how many exactly.
“(The suspect) stated that he was distraught and asked multiple times ‘Why would they do that?'” the report reads in part.
“(The suspect) made statements during the transport (to the hospital) that he hoped both XAVIER and MAURICE were okay. He also mentioned hoping they will all be able to move past this for his two daughters’ sake,” the report added.
Another of Maurice Pearson’s daughters told police she brought him and Xavier Pearson to her sister’s apartment. She said Maurice Pearson said he was “gonna go get him” — referring to the suspect. She said by the time she entered the apartment, Maurice Pearson was already lying on the floor. She said she saw her brother and the suspect fighting before her brother was stabbed.
A probable cause affidavit filed May 12 in the manslaughter case indicates she said that the suspect and Xavier Pearson were on their feet when she entered the room and that the suspect was still going after Maurice Pearson. She said Xavier Pearson tried to defend their father. She said the suspect then swung the knife at Xavier Pearson, stabbing him. She said he then pointed the knife at her, blaming her for what happened.
The probable cause affidavit adds that after the suspect was handcuffed and placed in a police cruiser at the scene, he told the officer something like, “After they were both down I didn’t continue, I called police, told you guys what happened. After I was off the ground, cuz I know once they were on the ground it’s no longer self-defense.”
The children of the suspect and ex-girlfriend were in the apartment when the stabbing happened. Neither were hurt.
— News 8’s Madalyn Buursma contributed to this report.