Man charged in Montcalm County beating death

Montcalm County

MAPLE VALLEY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Howard City man has been charged with beating another man to death in rural Montcalm County.

The victim was identified as Ricky West, 57, of Coral.

The death happened in his home near McBride and North Bailey roads in Maple Valley Township, about 5 miles southeast of Howard City.

Ricky West
An undated courtesy photo of Ricky West.

A woman who identified herself as West’s wife told 24 Hour News 8 Monday that they were enjoying a night at home with friends Saturday. She said that around 11 p.m., she walked into the bedroom and found her husband badly beaten, his face black and blue. She called 911.

Michigan State Police say West was unresponsive when troopers got there. Troopers and emergency medical crews tried to revive him using CPR, but he died at the scene.

West’s wife said the killer walked into the home minutes before she found her husband beaten. She assumed he was a friend of West because he went straight to the bedroom that West was in. She said she thought nothing of it because it’s common for people to come and go at their home; their door was always open.

Police soon arrested the suspect Ryan Griffee, 30, at his parents’ home. He was arraigned Monday afternoon on a count of open murder. He pleaded not guilty and bond was set at $500,000.

“After Mr. Griffee confirmed that the victim was deceased, he returned to a location to destroy or delete evidence. So that’s very concerning,” Montcalm Chief Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Hekman said during Monday’s proceedings.

Investigators will reveal more evidence at the probable cause hearing, which will be in a couple of weeks. 

Griffee has previously faced multiple felonies, including one for extortion in 2016. Two weeks ago, a former girlfriend took out a personal protection order against him.

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