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Kentwood Double Murder

Developments continue in the investigation into murder of Kentwood couple David and Vivian Bouwman.

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03-05-14 Javonte Higgins in courtGRAND RAPIDS,Mich (April 3,2014) —  Javonte Higgins will spend the rest of his life in prison for the double murder that took the life of a Kentwood couple in 2013.

Higgins was found guilty Back In March for the murder of David and Vivian Bouwman in their home in Kentwood in January of 2013. The couple’s car was later found burning in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Higgins was arrested in Chicago, weeks after the murder.

Judge Mark Trusock gave Higgins two life sentences with no parole. While the sentencing didn’t last longer than 10 minutes, Trusock had a lot to say about Higgins and the case.

“During the course of this trial and today you’ve shown no remorse what-so-ever,” Trusock said. “You are a very dangerous individual, you have no moral compass what-so-ever. You clearly are a very dangerous individual.”

Higgins attorney said they plan to appeal the conviction. Saying, the jury was given added instructions about aiding and abetting and that they returned a verdict within minutes after that instruction was delivered.

The prosecution said the instructions were standard and that they see no grounds for an appeal.

 

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 10, 2014) – A verdict was reached in the Javonte Higgins double murder trial Monday.

He was found guilty on all four counts, including home invasion and a firearms charge.

Higgins killed David and Vivian Bouwman in their home in Kentwood in January 2013.

The couple’s car was later found burning in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Higgins was arrested in Chicago, weeks after the murder.

The jury, who asked a lot of questions throughout the trial, had two more this morning. Questions that led the judge to read instructions on aiding and abetting.  Following that, the jury came back with a verdict within minutes.

It’s a day the Bouwmansfamily has been waiting for for more than year, and several family and friends of theirs were in court every step of the way.

Tom Kelly, the Bouwman’s son-in-law, spoke on behalf the family after court Monday, saying they felt justice was served in the memory of their parents.

While he says with the help of their faith they have forgiven Higgins, he still had some strong words for him, saying he deserves what he got.

Javonte Higgins is the lowest form of humanity that we can have on God’s green earth, he has a total disregard for life and property of others and shows no remorse at all for what he’s done to our family,” said Kelly.

 Kelly said Monday’s verdict will allow them to have some closure in their lives as they start to heal and rebuild things again.

Val Foster, Higgins’ defense attorney, says she plans to appeal the conviction. During the trial she called for a mistrial, after a witness testified mentioning she met Higgins after ‘prison,’ Foster said that prejudiced her client beyond repair.

 Higgins is set to be sentenced in April.

 

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03/10/14

Higgins Found Guilty On All 4 Counts

03-05-14 Javonte Higgins in courtGRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 10, 2014) – A verdict has been reached in the Javonte Higgins trial.

He was found guilty on all four counts. Two for murder (one for David and one for Vivian), one of home invasion, and one on a firearms charge.

Higgins is convicted of killing David and Vivian Bouwman in their home in Kentwood in January of 2013. The couple’s car was later found burning in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Higgins was arrested in Chicago, weeks after the murder.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 7, 2014)–The case agaisnt Javonte Higgins, the man accused of killing David and Vivian Bouwman is now in the hands of a jury.

Closing arguments got underway just after lunch Friday with the prosecution pressing the words of Higgins friends, testifying they saw him after the murders with the Bouwman’s car and telling one of those friends ‘some people got shot.’

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker also pointed out the fact that they didn’t have any direct evidence putting Higgins at the Bouwmans home but says the circumstantial evidence they do have links Higgins to the crime, including his alleged past break ins that show a pattern.

Defense attorney Val Foster pressed the jury that it’s the prosecutions burden to proof beyond a reasonable doubt her client murdered them. She pushed hard at the fact there was no DNA of Higgins in the Bouwmans home and even claimed the footprints outside show there was someone else at the Bouwmans house that night that killed them.

 The jury got the case around 4 p.m. Friday and around 4:45 the judge sent them home, they’ll be back to deliberate around 8:30 a.m. Monday.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 6, 2014)– After three days of testimony, both the defense and prosecution in the Javonte Higgins murder trial rested.

Javonte Higgins didn’t end up taking the stand, and the defense ended up only recalling the lead detective in the case to re-question her about footprints.

The day was filled with more testimony from people acquainted with Higgins, including those that saw him in the hours before and after David and Vivian Bouwman were murdered.

One of the witnesses that testified had said she got to know Higgins after he got of prison.

The judge told the jury to disregard that statement and ended up declaring her a hostile witness for failing to answer questions, he also denied the request of a mistrial by the defense because of what she said.

Defense attorney, Valerie Foster claimed that the jury wouldn’t be able to forget that statement causing prejudice to her client. Chief Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker said the jury had already heard of other alleged incidents linked to Higgins.

Higgins’ mother, Dora Baker, also took the stand saying Higgins had a change in his demeanor since the crash he was involved in weeks before the murders. That crash police say involved a stolen truck leaving him seriously injured.

During her testimony, he made little to no eye contact with his mother as she spoke about being with him the day before the Bouwmans were killed.

She said she wanted to take him to Pine Rest but he refused and eventually ended up getting out of her car on 44th street; after that she said she never saw him again.

At close Thursday, the defense claimed the prosecution hadn’t proved Higgins guilt, especially with no DNA of Higgins at the Bouwmans home but the prosecution says the Bouwmans stolen car among other evidence presented proves his role in the murders.

Closing arguments are expected to happen Friday afternoon.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 5, 2014)– Wednesday was the second day of testimony in the trial of Javonte Higgins as the prosecutor worked to seek justice for the murders of David and Vivian Bouwman.

The first part of the day focused on Higgins’ criminal history, with people taking the stand to testify about alleged break-ins he was linked to in the past.

The jury also heard about a stolen truck that police say Higgins crashed just weeks before the murder that left him seriously injured.

Defense attorney Valerie Foster says she previously objected to having the cases brought up because it has nothing to do with this case, but that was overruled by the judge.

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker said during his opening statements that it shows a pattern for Higgins.

The jury also heard from two of Higgins’ friends, including Lacie Martin, who testified she was with Higgins in the hours before the alleged shootings and dropped him off in the Bouwmans’ neighborhood.

Another friend of Higgins, Camari Boyd, also took the stand Wednesday.  He said  the Higgins he knows is a ‘nice’ person and told the prosecutor he actually didn’t want to be in court testifying.

Boyd told the jury that Higgins came to his apartment around 3 or 4 a.m. on Jan. 5, asking him to get rid of a car; the Cadillac that belonged to the Bouwmans.

He testified that Higgins also told him some people got shot, but couldn’t say for sure if Higgins actually said “I” shot anybody.

Boyd went on to testify about seeing Higgins leave his apartment with an orange bucket, the same orange bucket previous witnesses testified seeing at the scene of the Bouwmans’ burning car.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 4, 2014)– After more than a year, the trial for the man accused of killing David and Vivian Bouwman is underway.

During the first day of testimony Tuesday, Javonte Higgins’ demeanor was completely different from how he behaved during past court appearances.

The day began Tuesday with each side presenting opening statements, followed by several witnesses taking the stand to testify.

One of those witnesses, the Bouwmans’ daughter Karen Kelly, testified about items missing from her parents’ home.

The jury also heard from crime scene investigators who say the Bouwmans were each shot twice.

Workers at a gas station also took the stand, saying they saw a man come in with a limp in the hours after the shooting who had an orange bucket with him.

That was the orange bucket officers say was found near the scene where the Bouwmans’ car was burned.

However, defense attorney Val Foster made it clear in her opening statements that the prosecution has no witnesses of Higgins being at the Bouwmans’ home or the gun used in the murder.

Beck said despite the circumstantial evidence they know Higgins is guilty and the crime scene says it all, along with the couple’s missing car.

Testimony will pick back up Wednesday; the trial is expected to last into next week.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 3, 2014)– The jury in Javonte Higgins’ murder trial was seated Monday.

Higgins is accused of killing  David and Vivian Bouwman in their Kentwood home in January 2013.

He underwent multiple mental evaluations to determine if he was competent to stand trial after he exhibited bizarre courtroom behavior on several occasions.

In July, he was found competent to stand trial on unrelated charges of home invasion and vehicle theft.  A judge found that there was enough evidence after the October preliminary hearing concluded to send him to trial for the murders.

Higgins march 3 2014GRAND RAPIDS,Mich. (March 3, 2014) — It’s the day the family of two grandparents have waited 14 months for. Jury selection begins Monday in downtown Grand Rapids for the trial of Javonte Higgins.

He is charged with two counts of murder in connection with the deaths of David and Vivian Bouwman. They were shot to death in their Kentwood home in January of 2013. The couple’s car was later found burning in the parking lot of an apartment complex.

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