2 arraigned in Cass County deadly robbery

Southwest Michigan
Undated booking photos of Justin Robert-Gabriel Carlton (left) and Jay Vincent Penar. (Courtesy of the Cass County Sheriff's Office)

Undated booking photos of Justin Robert-Gabriel Carlton (left) and Jay Vincent Penar. (Courtesy of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office)

DOWAGIAC, Mich. (WOOD) — Two men were arraigned Wednesday in connection to a murder in Cass County.

Authorities say 41-year-old Justin Carlton of Kalamazoo and 38-year-old Jay Penar of White Pigeon are both charged with one count of open murder, one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, three counts of armed robbery and four counts of felony firearm possession.

The deadly robbery happened around 1:40 a.m. Monday in the 700 block of Louise Avenue in Dowagiac.

Investigators say the men intended to rob the house, and 40-year-old Michael Kenneth Collins of Dowagiac was shot and killed by one of the suspects. 

Three other people in the home were tied up during the incident but were not injured, police say.

Penar was found in St. Joseph County and taken into custody. He previously lived at that address, and authorities believe the suspects specifically targeted the residence, police say.

Carlton was found hiding inside a home on Henson Avenue near Gull Road in Kalamazoo Township on Monday, police say. 

If convicted of murder, conspiracy or armed robbery, the men will face life in prison. Carlton is also charged with being a fourth-time habitual offender. If convicted, he must serve at least 25 years in prison.

Both men have been denied bond. The men’s next court date is scheduled for Feb. 6.

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