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Isabella Co. murder suspect out on bond at time of crime spree

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:02 PM EDT
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ISABELLA COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) -(06/09/21)-”This is a scenario where this was a bad person, and his bond needed to be set high,” said Isabella County Prosecutor, David Barberi

Isabella County Prosecutor David Barberi is talking about 40-year old Isaiah “Zeek” Gardenhire-- now facing a dozen felonies including murder, home invasion, criminal sexual conduct and unlawful imprisonment.

Its a crime spree that began at a home on Isabella Road in Union Township early Sunday and came to an end in Flint Township late Monday night after Gardenhire turned himself in to police.

All of this taking place -- while Gardenhire was out on bond for second degree criminal sexual conduct in Mason County.

In that case bond was set at $7500 cash surety. Gardenhire was out after paying just $750 dollars. He was arrested May 27th.

“And unfortunately, sometimes this is the byproduct, so unfortunate consequence, the unintended consequence of no cash bail and bail reform,”

Gardenhire was also charged with being a habitual offender.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections website, Gardenhire was released from prison in February 2020. He was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for firearm possession by a felon. Gardenhire served 4 years.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Barberi voiced his frustration over how Gardenhire was able to get out on bond in Mason County to allegedly commit these crimes in Isabella County-- including the stabbing and murder the 13- year old daughter of his live-in girlfriend, who the prosecutor says Gardenhire was one of two women sexually assaulted during his alleged crime spree.

“I think what we’re actually seeing is the byproduct of a kinder softer, gentler approach to Criminal Justice. And while in many ways, when things look good in Lansing, what, what Lansing decides and what they think is good for us, does not always translate on in real world.” Barberi said.

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