Trial date set for man accused in West Willow homicide
Courtesy of WCSO
The 30-year-old Trenton man accused of killing 29-year-old Brandon Charles in Ypsilanti Township last January appeared briefly Wednesday in the Washtenaw County Trial Court where he had a trial date set for Sept. 30.
Willie Lee Wimberly is charged with fatally shooting Charles, who was set to testify against Wimberly the next day in a Wayne County case related to an earlier shooting.
Avantis Parker, also accused of homicide in the case, was on Wednesday's docket but had to be rescheduled because he was not in court. Prosecutors forget to file a writ to transport him to the courtroom from prison, where Parker is serving up to 22 years on an unrelated armed robbery case.
Wimberly expressed a willingness to get to trial as quickly as possible. His attorney, Raymond Burkett, objected to the September date, saying his client wished to get before a jury on the charges in July or August.
"We are asking for an immediate trial," said Burkett.
Judge Archie Brown stuck by the Sept. 30 date for Wimberly, saying that's the earliest the court's schedule could allow it.
There are also "evidentiary issues" with the case, Brown said, and both the prosecution and defense will have to wait until some of the evidence is tested by state police before a trial can begin.
Wimberly had a final pretrial hearing set for Sept. 18. Parker has his pretrial hearing rescheduled for June 5.
The two men are accused of killing Charles in the driveway of a home in the 600 block of Calder Avenue in Ypsilanti Township’s West Willow neighborhood on Jan. 29. Wimberly had offered Charles $10,000 to not testify against him in a Jan. 1 shooting and, when Charles asked for twice as much, the two men fatally shot him, according to testimony.
Wimberly and Steven Smith-Rush were charged with shooting Charles and his girlfriend during a Jan. 1 road rage incident in Detroit. Wimberly was scheduled to be in court for a preliminary exam on the morning on Jan. 30 and was free on a $250,000 bond.
Parker is charged with open murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, carrying a concealed weapon, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and intimidating a witness.
Wimberly faces charges of open murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, being a felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon in a motor vehicle and intimidating a witness.
Both men face a maximum of life in prison.
Wimberly remains in jail with no bond.