GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 11, 2014) It was a crime spree on Labor Day 2012 that left two people dead and three others wounded.
Investigative subpoenas helped lead to charges, a trial and ultimately the conviction of Michael Norris, who learned Tuesday he will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Norris is convicted of two counts of felony murder along with other charges connected to two shootings in the early hours of Sept. 3, 2012.
The first shooting happened near Burton and Division outside a party store where Felix Reyes-Santos and Alvero Carillo-Mendez were shot and killed, a third person was shot in the mouth, seriously wounded.
Then about an hour later, another shooting near Buchanan and Griggs left two more people wounded. It took months to file charges as detectives and prosecutors worked to use investigative subpoenas to bring their case together.
During his sentencing Tuesday, Norris maintained his innocence saying they ‘have the wrong guy.’
“The sad thing about all of this is you got the wrong guy, a year in county on probation even after they lie under oath. But today I’m facing life. I won’t give up every day I’ll fight,” he said.
The judge told Norris this was a very tragic case, even calling it gruesome, saying it deserved a stringent punishment and that’s what he was trying to do in handing down his sentencing.
Norris’ attorney says he plans to appeal.
Another man Manuel Rosado took a plea to testify in Norris’ trial. He was allowed to plead guilty to three counts of assault with intent to rob while armed as an habitual offender for his involvement in the robbery at the first shooting.
Assistant Kent County Proseuctor Kelle Koncki says there was no evidence linking Rosado to having any involvement in the shootings at Buchanan and Griggs.
During the trial, one of the victims even testified to seeing Rosado in the neighborhood before and that it wasn’t Rosado who shot him and his cousin.
Koncki says they agreed to recommend a one year sentence in jail and five years’ probation upon truthful testimony from Rosado. But Koncki says during the trial evidence was discovered that Rosado failed to disclose at the preliminary hearing that he hid in a house across the street from the second shooting.
Koncki says Rosado admitted that prior to testifying in trial but was informed it violated his plea agreement and as a result they have initiated probation violation proceedings to decide if Rosado should be charged for that.
Koncki says it wasn’t only Rosado’s testimony but other crucial testimony from Norris’ best friend and ballistics evidence that helped lead to the conviction of Norris.