MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Prosecutors say the man charged with murdering a Muskegon County man ambushed him as he came home from work.
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Ryan Allen Berry, 27, was wearing an anti-suicide smock as he was led into a Muskegon courtroom for arraignment Friday.
Berry is charged with open murder, unlawful imprisonment and two felony weapons charges in connection to Thursday’s shooting, which killed 28-year-old Evan Yonker.
The prosecutor laid out the allegations against Berry during the hearing. He said Berry laid in wait for Yonker to get home from work, then Berry shot him with Yonker’s own shot gun at Yonker’s home on Meeuwenberg Drive off Lakewood Road, just east of US-31 in Dalton Township.
“It’s kind of sad that it all happened like that, two doors down from my house,” said Josh Palmer, who was friends with Yonker for years. “He was a good kid. We always hang out and stuff.”
Prosecutors say the motive in the murder stemmed from jealousy over Berry’s ex-girlfriend dating the victim.
“This appears to be fueled by Mr. Berry’s jealousy or resentment over the fact that he had broken up with (his ex-girlfriend) and she was now in a relationship with Mr. Yonker,” said Muskegon County Chief Trial Attorney Matt Roberts.
Hours after the shooting on Thursday, Palmer says he touched base with Berry’s former girlfriend.
“(Berry) told her that ‘if you don’t come out of this house with me, I’m going to knock you out and drag you out and burn this house down,’” Palmer said.
Prosecutors say Berry forced his ex-girlfriend to drive him to Grand Haven. Berry’s ex-girlfriend is also a victim of the shooting and won’t face any charges, prosecutors said.
The prosecutor said Berry tried to take his own life by swimming out into Lake Michigan near the Grand Haven pier. After about 35 minutes in the water, he surrendered and boarded an Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol boat.
“To everyone that I loved and that loved me, I’m sorry that it came to this. I always tried to be a good person but this (expletive) up life got the better of me. I lost the most important people in my life in a matter of days, thrown away for no reason. Goodbye,” Berry posted on his Facebook page before the shooting.
“Mom I love you and I’m sorry. I wasn’t strong enough,” he later wrote.
Palmer says It’s a tragedy for everyone involved, including the loved ones Yonker leaves behind.
“My buddy’s kids are left without a dad now. It’s just heartbreaking but we had a lot of good times,” he said.
A judge agreed to deny Berry bond based on the seriousness of the charges, the danger he posed to himself and others and his criminal record, which included a 2012 felony home invasion charge.
Berry’s next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 29.