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Posted on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Brothers to serve at least 10 years for 'egregious' abduction and shooting

By Kyle Feldscher

Before beginning his prison sentence Tuesday, Allan Tomlinson said his family mattered more to him after he got out of prison than anything else in the world.


Clinton Desir and Allan Tomlinson

Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office

Tomlinson said his younger brother, Clinton Desir, took advantage of that and involved him in a plan to abduct and shoot Julien Butler, who Desir believed raped his child’s mother.

Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Donald Shelton sentenced Tomlinson and Desir to between 10 and 15 years in prison for charges of unlawful imprisonment and conspiracy to commit unlawful imprisonment Tuesday. Tomlinson will serve an additional two years for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Tomlinson told Shelton he was doing everything he needed to do while he was on parole after being released from prison. Tomlinson served six years for an armed robbery conviction. He said his family meant more to him than anything else, and Desir preyed on that feeling to get him to help get vigilante justice on Butler.

“My co-defendant, my youngest brother, knew what type of person I am when it comes to family and he took advantage of that,” Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson’s statement brought family members to tears. However, Desir was not in the courtroom at the time of his statement and did not speak about his older brother during his statement.

On Aug. 10, Tomlinson and Desir abducted Butler at gunpoint outside an Ypsilanti party store. According to Butler’s testimony, Tomlinson held a gun to him while driving to a rural portion of Ford Road in Superior Township.

Once there, Butler was shot multiple times and left to die on the side of the road by the two men. He likely would have died there, if it were not for several people who stopped to help him and kept him alive until medical personnel arrived.

Butler suffered 13 wounds, causing severe injuries to his hip, thigh, buttocks and testicles. One of his hips was replaced and prosthetic bone was put in his thigh to replace his femur.

Both Tomlinson and Desir apologized for taking the law into their own hands. The mother of Desir’s child reportedly told Desir that Butler had raped her — a charge he denied — and the two brothers decided to take matters into their own hands. The incident shocked Shelton.

“This is the most egregious great bodily harm case I’ve ever sat on,” he said.

For months, the official story was Tomlinson fired the shots that injured Butler. However, Tomlinson’s lawyer, Erika Julien, said Tuesday that wasn’t the case.

Once arriving at the location where Butler was shot, Tomlinson handed the gun to Desir and Desir fired the shots into a helpless Butler, Julien said.

Shelton interrupted her and told her that, through all the testimony in preliminary exams and a trial, this version of events was never presented.

Desir apologized for the act and said he regretted taking matters into his own hands.

“I felt like I did go about the whole situation the wrong way,” he said. “I understand I have to face the consequences for my actions.”

For Butler’s family, it really doesn’t matter who pulled the trigger. Eric Graham, Butler’s brother, called the incident “one of the most idiotic” incidents he’d ever experienced.

He said Tomlinson did not learn from his first stint in prison and needed to be remanded for a long time.

“Our family’s been through a lot, their family’s been through a lot,” he said. “These kind of acts, the people who commit them cannot be on the street.”

Tomlinson faces a long stint in prison. Because he was on parole at the time of the incident, he now faces the maximum sentence for armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. The 12 to 17 years he faces for the Butler case would be served consecutively to that sentence.

On Jan. 30, Tomlinson was found guilty of two counts of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm, reduced from two counts of assault with intent to murder, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, two counts of unlawful imprisonment, carrying a concealed weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm. In a bench trial Shelton found him guilty on two additional counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Tomlinson now has 19 convictions — 12 felonies and seven misdemeanors, according to Shelton.

Desir pleaded no contest on Jan. 28 to assault with intent to murder and guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon, unlawful imprisonment, conspiracy to commit unlawful imprisonment and carrying a concealed weapon, records show.

In exchange, charges of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm, two charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to commit bodily harm and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony were all dropped, according to court records.

These were Desir’s first convictions as an adult. He was given credit for serving 196 days in jail.

Both men were sentenced for their other convictions as well, however, all those sentences run concurrent to the unlawful imprisonment charge.

Shelton elected to sentence both Desir and Tomlinson above the guidelines for unlawful imprisonment due to the nature of the crime. Desir originally agreed to a sentencing agreement that would have put him away for 12 to 20 years, but Shelton refused to honor that agreement because he did not want to sentence Desir longer than Tomlinson.

Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Blaine Longsworth decided not to withdraw the plea agreement, despite Shelton choosing to sentence Desir to a shorter time in prison. He had asked Shelton to sentence Tomlinson to 10 to 15 years on that charge and believed it was appropriate for Desir.

Longsworth said Tomlinson’s criminal history started in 1999 and he believed it would continue if he leaves prison.

Tomlinson is “a dangerous and unique threat to the public,” Longsworth said.

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



Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 6:38 p.m. states... slan·der/?slænd?r/ Show Spelled [slan-der] Show IPA noun 1. defamation; calumny: rumors full of slander. 2. a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name. 3. Law. defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures, etc. verb (used with object) 4. to utter slander against; defame. verb (used without object) 5. to utter or circulate slander.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

Until we as citizens understand the legal system inside and out we as citizens need to think twice before posting slander. Learn the guidelines oh wise Citizens of Washtenaw County. Cause at this point you sound foolish.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 5:50 p.m.

I'd suggest reading the legal definition of slander before making this kind of post.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4 p.m.

Incredible that Tomlinson was even out in the first place with that record. Butler's blood is on some judge's hands. Probably a judge just like Shelton. If either of these two men are ever free again, our system has failed us.

Sam S Smith

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

Special thoughts and prayers for healing to Mr. Butler and his family!

Susan Ursus

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

Nine times out of ten, this scenario results in the death of the victim. In my mind, that makes 10 to 15 years an insult to the victim, who will have to deal with his horrific injuries for the rest of his life, and to the public, who will undoubtedly have to deal with these violent monsters again in the future.

Susan Ursus

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

On the plus side, it's nice to see a man take a strong interest in his babymama.

Susan Ursus

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

Sally: Interesting take. I hadn't thought of that.

Silly Sally

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

The mama's boy was only protecting "his" property rights, just like OJ Simpson did.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

Wow- Felon is possession of a firearm is supposed to result in at least ten years added to sentence. 2 years for that? For a repeat offender? Where are the gun control advocates when the criminals have guns?

Susan Ursus

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

Whoops, didn't read the article carefully enough. The prosecutor dropped the Felony Firearms charge for Desir. It appears Tomlinson was charged with Felony in Possession--not sure if he was found not guilty or the charges were dropped. Tomlinson was convicted of two counts of Felony Firearm. The law is a bit confusing. A person may be convicted of Felon in Possession of a Firearm simply for being a felon with a gun (which is what I referenced above). Michigan also has a Felony Firearms (aka Possession of a Firearm During a Felony) law, which mandates a two-year additional sentence when a felony is committed with a gun. Felony Firearm and Felon in Possession of a Firearm are two different charges. Felony Firearm is served consecutively with whatever other sentence the person gets. For example, one guy commits armed robbery with a knife, and another guy commits armed robbery with a gun. The guy who uses the gun can be sentenced to two more years because he used a gun, and it must be served on top of whatever he got for the armed robbery. I think the idea is to discourage people from using firearms in crimes, but, frankly, I don't think 2 extra years is much of a deterrent.

Susan Ursus

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

I found the Felon in Possession law here: It appears that the maximum is 5 years. It's possible that prosecutors either did not charge Tomlinson with Felon in Possession or dropped it as part of the plea bargain. In reality, it might not have made a difference since sentences are run concurrently most of the time (except as described in the article).


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

Wow, attempted murder (because that is what it was) only gets you 10-15. The joke is on us.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 11:13 a.m.

Tomlinson now has 19 convictions — 12 felonies and seven misdemeanors, according to Shelton. How many more does he need to throw the keys away?