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Posted on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

Officials: Blow from frying pan may not have caused man's death

By John Counts


Police say John Lawrence, 46, was killed by his daughter's roommates at the Peninsular Place apartment complex in Ypsilanti Sunday night.

John Counts |

Officials are still trying to determine exactly how 46-year-old John Lawrence died at the Peninsular Place apartment complex in Ypsilanti Sunday night.

A preliminary autopsy performed by the Washtenaw County Medical Examiner revealed blunt force trauma might not be the cause of death, said Ypsilanti police Det. Joe Yuhas. Police Monday said that appeared to have been the cause.

“He was hit with a frying pan,” Yuhas confirmed Tuesday. “We don’t know if that contributed to the cause of death at this time.”

The final autopsy and toxicology reports won't be ready for a few weeks. Police would not immediately elaborate on what is known about the cause of Lawrence's cause of death.

Police will still be seeking unspecified charges against the 20-year-old man and 20-year-old woman who have been held at the Washtenaw County Jail since being arrested Sunday night after John Lawrence's death.

Yuhas said the warrant will be taken to the prosecutor's office Wednesday morning for review. Any final charges will be up to prosecutors, he added. The two are expected to be arraigned on charges by Wednesday afternoon.

Police believe the two 20-year-olds killed John Lawrence during an argument about the lease between the roommates. Raven Lawrence said she called her father to come to her aid after she felt threatened by the 20-year-old man. The Eastern Michigan University student said she was taking her father's registered handgun to his car after he arrived when the 20-year-olds locked her out of the apartment. When she came in with police, John Lawrence was lying on the floor dead, Raven Lawrence said.

Raven Lawrence said her father drove to Ypsilanti from his home in Detroit to help her, though officials indicated he is from River Rouge.

Police said the 20-year-old man is a Farmington Hills resident, but Raven Lawrence said the man had been staying at the apartment she shared with the 20-year-old woman, the man's girlfriend. Their 2-month-old baby also lived at the apartment, Raven Lawrence said.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 4:34 a.m.

Death at Peninsular Place: This story appears to be a lot more complex and probably it would be good to wait until we get more information. However, I would ask to share with us the Community Policy and Guidelines for the tenants at this apartment community. It is not correct to have a 2-month old baby residing in a single room along with unrelated adult. City Housing Codes may not permit this kind of living arrangements. The tenants and the owner must be held accountable for violation of City Housing Code and the building must be more often inspected to find unauthorized residents.


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

Unauthorized Occupation: Thanks for that response. I have been living in Ann Arbor since 1986 and have been living in rental accommodation all the time. The rental/lease agreement or contract often demands a payment of a fee if guests stay overnight. I think it is fair to demand such a fee for overnight stays. There were occasions I had provided hotel accommodation to guests visiting me. The presence of a 2-month old baby in a rental building must not be kept as a secret and the situation as reported in this story is a violation of housing code and I would be happy if the City of Ypsilanti provides us some information on this issue.


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 5:33 a.m.

In regards to your last sentence: anyone can get around that; I've had roommates who allowed their significant others to live with them while claiming to be the only occupant of a room. Who's to say my girlfriend isn't allowed to spend the night in my apartment or leave some of her belongings at my place? Happens all the time when couples aren't cohabiting.


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 12:42 a.m.

Why haven't the names of the suspects been released?

John Counts

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

Hi Colby: MathGeek is correct. The names of suspects in any case are not made public unless they are arraigned on charges. These two suspects are expected to be arraigned tomorrow.


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 1:31 a.m.

They haven't been charged with anything yet.


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

Thanks John. This is the clearest writeup of this situation I've yet seen.


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

Cue the conspiracy theorists (It's a cover up!), Ypsi-haters (What else would you expect from Ypsi?), YPD critics (CSI would have solved it by now!) But in the mean and rampant speculation let's try to remember that there's a family in mourning.


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 6:37 p.m.

How much more room is in the jail? They have to be running out of room?


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

don't worry, Obama will force them to let illegal criminals go free if they get too full.

Basic Bob

Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 7:53 p.m.

they let people out every day


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 6:56 p.m.

Judging from the activity here over the last year, maybe they should build one at this apartment complex.


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

An unknown or unreleased cause of death, just like Julia Niswender...


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 9:53 p.m.

While you are accurate regarding cause of death, I fail to see how these two cases are related, as your comment suggests.


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

AdmiralMoose, perhaps not, but the family certainly is. And last I knew, they had not been notified either.


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 6:58 p.m.

Porchbear, you're not entitled to know the cause of death. Get over it.


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

May want to reconsider that headline.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

Indeed. I didn't realize that frying pans could blow.