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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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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Mar. 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.

Police later arrested Higgins in Chicago, and he was brought back to Michigan. He underwent multiple mental evaluations after exhibiting bizarre behavior during his earlier court appearances, which included being unresponsive and even drooling. The judge ultimately found him competent to stand trial.

If convicted, Higgins faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

KENTWOOD, Mich. — A Kent County judge ordered Javonte Higgins to stand trial Monday for the double murder of David and Vivian Bouwman.

Higgins, 22, is accused of murdering the Kentwood couple in their Jan. 5.

The decision came Monday afternoon after two new witnesses testified during day two of a preliminary hearing. Higgins sat quietly as his friend, Kevon Jackson, took the stand.

Jackson said Higgins showed up at his home the evening of Jan. 4 and he acted differently than usual. The next morning,  he said Higgins stopped by his home around 7:00 or 8:00 a.m.

“He knocked on the door, and he asked me to roll with him to get rid of a car, and I told him ‘no,’” Jackson recalled.

The other witness to take the stand was Domonique Beal, who is currently in jail for domestic violence.

Beal said he was at his child’s mother’s apartment the night the Bouwmans were killed. That morning, his girlfriend woke him up because a car was burning outside of her window.

“It was like he was dumping something in the car, and then that’s when i seen the car go up in flames,” Beal said. He added that the man then  dropped a reddish orange bucket and ran away from the scene limping.

Monday, a detective who testified on the first day of the preliminary hearing was called back to the stand. She said that Beal helped police draw a composite sketch of the man who had the bucket.

Also on day one, a detective testified that the VIN number on the burning Cadillac came back to David Bouwman.

Higgins trial date hasn’t been set. He’s in the Kent County Jail on a $1 million bond.

higgins2013

Javonte Higgins (file photo)

KENTWOOD, Mich. — Javonte Higgins was ordered Monday to stand trial for the January double murder of David and Vivian Bouwman.

Higgins 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 Monday’s preliminary hearing concluded to send him to trial for the murders.

 

KENTWOOD, Mich. — Seven witnesses testified in Javonte Higgins’ preliminary hearing.

Higgins is charged with murdering David and Vivian Bouwman of Kentwood.

Tuesday morning, each witness helped piece together Javonte Higgins’ movement from early to mid-January. Three officers, a friend of Higgins, and the man who helped Higgins leave the state were among the witnesses who take the stand.

A Kentwood officer described the discovery of the Bouwman’s bodies inside their home on Stowevalley, January 5th. A neighbor reported an attempted break-in at his home and saw tracks leading to the Bouwman’s home.

“That house was neat and tidy. I didn’t notice anything ransacked like usual (breaking and enterings),” Troy Boeskool said.

Kamari Boyd, a friend of Higgins, described how Higgins didn’t seem his usual self the night before. He said Higgins ended up showing up at his apartment at 4 a.m. with a Cadillac.

On the stand, Boyd and the prosecutor had the following exchange:

Boyd: “I was coming out of my sleep and everything. So I didn’t know what to tell him. He just kept saying, ‘I got to get rid of this car.’”

Prosecutor: “Did you give any suggestions or anything like that?”

Boyd: “No, I didn’t.”

Prosecutor: “Did he say anything else about what had happened?”

Boyd: “Yes, ‘some people got shot.’”

Prosecutor: “Did he say who?”

Boyd: “No.”

Boyd said he didn’t want any part of it. That night, he said Higgins took a bucket full of rock salt. It was in Boyd’s parking lot. He said Higgins dumped the salt out and left.

An investigation revealed that Higgins filled the bucket with fuel and set the stolen car on fire. Larhonda Johnson testified that she woke up Saturday morning to a loud honking sound coming from outside of her apartments at Arbor Park in Wyoming.

She said she opened her blinds and saw the flames.

Rundy Williams took the stand. He helped Higgins leave the state.

“He wanted to leave Grand Rapids to start another life,” Williams recalled.

During the trip, Williams said he became increasingly suspicious that Higgins was the man on the news who was wanted by police.

“What I was asking him, ‘Was that him on TV they looking for?’ He told me, “No.” It didn’t look like him. That`s why I wasn’t sure,” Williams said.

Later that night, Williams said there was a contradiction by Higgins.

“I asked him a question. I said was the guy with you when this happened? he said `no, I was by myself,”

The next morning while they were on the road, Higgins run from police came to an end.

“We pull out the parking lot. The next thing I know I`m looking in the rearview mirror. Police coming forward and they were coming all in back of me. They had the whole car surrounded,” Williams described.

The two were arrested. Williams was held and questioned for few hours and was then let go.

The prosecution is looking for two more witnesses to testify. The preliminary examination was adjourned until October the 14th.

Follow FOX 17′s Darren Cunningham on Twitter @darrenfox17 and Facebook here.

higgins2013WYOMING,Mich. – Accused double murderer Javonte Higgins will be back in court this Thursday for a preliminary hearing in his double homicide case in Kentwood.

Sources tell Fox 17 News that Higgins has been found ‘competent to stand trial. This is Just the latest twist in the investigation into the murders of David and Vivian Bouwman,  an elderly couple whose bodies were discovered in the bloody kitchen of their home last winter.  Detectives say, it was a home invasion that escalated into a double shooting.

In other court appearances Higgins was unresponsive rocking, drooling and even smearing his own feces in his cell before facing a judge.

“I can’t, I can’t, I don’t, I can’t get a hold of this.  I don’t know what you want me to do but I don’t want to be in trouble,” Higgins said to Judge Kelly during a July arraignment.

Higgins is also accused of stealing the Bouwman’s car and  setting it on fire in the parking lot of a Wyoming apartment complex to hide the evidence. Higgins was later arrested in the suburbs of Chicago after police got a tip he’d fled the state.

Higgins will  be in court on separate charges of home invasion next Monday.

WYOMING, Mich. – The man charged in the double murder of a Kentwood couple now heads to trial on other charges.

On Wednesday, Javonte Higgins entered a Wyoming courtroom. He appeared overwhelmed by the amount the amount of people inside the court. He even seemed jumpy at times when hearing the sounds of cameras flashing.

Higgins was brought into court on charges regarding two home invasions and an auto theft that took place on December 9, 2012.

The suspect’s accused of breaking into the homes, located in Wyoming, both off 52nd Street west of Clyde Park Avenue.

Four witnesses took the stand on Wednesday. Kathy Garvey, told the courtroom that she arrived home late that night, at about 2 a.m., to find her house in disarray.

“I saw cupboards opened when I got home,” she said.

She also said whoever broke in stole some tins that were in her bedroom and that doors to the closet were open.

However, the key pieces of evidence stolen from Garvey’s home, were three rings that she identified as hers while in court.

Two other witnesses, George and Michele Davis, say their house was the other one that was broken into. They say they were awakened by police, who were there to tell them that their Chevrolet Silverado was stolen.

“I looked out and oh my God it was gone,” Michele Davis said about the truck.

Kentwood Police Officer, David Helm, said he was working the overnight shift when those robberies took place. He said he noticed Javonte Higgins speeding past him on 52nd Street, at what appeared to be 100 mph. Higgins was driving a Chevrolet Silverado.

That’s when the officer said a chase began. He said Higgins blew through a red light on Kalamazoo Avenue and lost control of the truck, smashing it into a tree near the corner of Gentian Drive, just north of 60th Street.

“When they actually extricated the individual from the vehicle, those rings[the rings Garvey identified as hers] actually fell out of his pocket next to the stretcher,” Helm said.

The judge ruled there was enough evidence to send Higgins to trial on two counts of first degree home invasion, fleeing and eluding and unlawfully driving away.

A court date for Higgins has not been scheduled.

higgins new mugshotWYOMING, Mich. — Javonte Higgins, the man charged with the January double murder of David and Vivian Bouwman, was in Wyoming court for charges from other alleged crimes Wednesday afternoon.

This latest hearing was to determine if there was enough evidence to send Higgins to trial for felony home invasion and car theft in December 2012.  Wyoming Police say that Higgins stole a truck and led them on a high-speed chase, which ended when he crashed after running a red light.

One of the women from the alleged home invasions identified several pieces of jewelry that were found on Higgins that she says are hers.  The officer who chased Higgins also testified, saying he saw Higgins in a silver truck going over 100 mph the night of the crash.

When police caught up with Higgins, they said that truck had smashed into a tree, and he sustained a hip injury after being pinned behind the wheel.

KENTWOOD, Mich.- Javonte Higgins appeared very confused in court Thursday as he was charged with the double murder of David and Vivian Bouwman.  

“I don’t quite, I don’t really know what’s going on like that,” Higgins said in his video arraignment.

He gazed around, appearing disoriented and flustered, sometimes twitching as Judge William Kelly charged him for the January murders.

Higgins replied, “That’s not, that’s not, that can’t be, that can’t be.”

The Kentwood grandparents were found dead from gunshot wounds Jan. 5. 

Kentwood Police Chief and Kent County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Becker say charging Higgins sooner would have been counterproductive because of the forensic exam in a previous case that showed Higgins competent to stand trial.  

In other court appearances for that case, Higgins was unresponsive rocking, drooling and even smearing his own feces in his cell before facing a judge.

“I can’t, I can’t, I don’t, I can’t get a hold of this.  I don’t know what you want me to do but I don’t want to be in trouble,” Higgins said to Judge Kelly during Thursday’s arraignment.

At one point in the investigation authorities were looking for an accomplice. During the press conference Thursday they said they now believe Higgins acted alone.

At one point in the arraignment Judge Kelly asked Higgins, “Do you understand if someone killed you they’d be facing consequences?  They’d be facing murder charges?”

Higgins responded, “You, you want to kill me?”

During the arraignment the Bouwman family sat in the courtroom, visibly shaken by Higgins bizarre behavior.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 24 and he is currently held on $1 million bond.

higgins2013KENTWOOD, Mich. — Javonte Higgins has officially been charged with the double murder of a Kentwood couple with a bond set at one million dollars..

David and Vivian Bouwman were found murdered in their home in January, and Higgins was the only suspect in that case.  Higgins is charged with two counts of felony murder, a count of first-degree home invasion and felony firearm possession, according to Kentwood Police.

Higgins’ stay in jail has been peppered with instances of odd rebelling and misbehavior, including refusing to leave his cell and rubbing feces on his face. During his arraignment Higgins told the Judge “he doesn’t know what’s going on”

If convicted on either murder charge, Higgins could spend the rest of his life in jail.

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