Man sentenced to at least 75 years for murdering Mt. Pleasant-area girl


An undated photo of Isaiah Gary Gardenhire. (Courtesy Michigan State Police)

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who killed a teen girl near Mt. Pleasant this summer has received a decadeslong sentence that means he will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in prison.

Isaiah Gardenhire, 41, was sentenced Tuesday to between 75 and 120 years in prison for second-degree murder, between 75 and 120 years for unlawful imprisonment and between 10 and 15 years for assault with a dangerous weapon. He would be 116 before becoming eligible for parole.

All the sentences will run at the same time. He received credit for 154 days served.

Gardenhire stabbed and killed a 13-year-old girl — identified as Adrie Dembowske by The Morning Sun newspaper — and also assaulted her mother in June. He then fled the area in a stolen car before giving himself up to police in Flint.

During sentencing, Gardenhire told the court he “(didn’t) expect forgiveness.”

“I wish I could turn back the hands of time, but I can’t,” he said, appearing in court via Zoom. “Impose what you think is right. I accept responsibility for my actions.”

The judge said that in his 37 years on the bench and as a prosecutor before that, he could not remember so terrible a case. The prosecutor called it one of the most senseless tragedies he has handled in his 10 years on the job.

“(Gardenhire) deserves no consideration from the court,” the judge said.

Gardenhire pleaded no contest to the crimes in September. Several other charges, including four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a count of assault with a dangerous weapon, a count of unlawful imprisonment, a count of first-degree home invasion, a count of carjacking and a count of armed robbery were dismissed.

He was separately charged with shooting and killing Kelsey Cross Coon-Lennon and Harley Thomas Owens in Ingham County couple in April.

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