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Posted on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

Suspects in Sunday homicide released from jail as investigation continues

By Kyle Feldscher

The two people arrested Sunday night in connection with the death of John Lawrence were released from jail Wednesday evening, officials confirmed.

The man and woman, both 20, were arrested Sunday night and police said they believed they killed Lawrence during a dispute about a lease. Both the man and woman were taken to the Washtenaw County Jail to await arraignment, which was originally scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, according to jail records.


John Lawrence died at the Peninsular Place apartments in Ypsilanti. The suspects originally arrested in connection with the death have been released.

Courtney Sacco |

However, that time came and went. Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Geoffrey Fox confirmed the man and woman were released from jail at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Washtenaw County Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Steven Hiller said Thursday the case is still under investigation and there was no timetable on when charges would be filed.

“It’ll take as long as it takes to get a complete picture of what happened in this case,” Hiller said. is not releasing the names of the man and woman because they have not been formally arraigned on charges.

Lawrence, 46, was killed Sunday at the Peninsular Place apartments in the 900 block of Railroad Street. His daughter, Raven Lawrence, told she was arguing with the two suspects regarding the living situation at the apartment. She said the man was living at the apartment without a lease.

The situation became heated and Raven Lawrence called her father to come to the apartment, she said. When he arrived, he gave her his handgun and told her to take it to his car. By the time she came back to the apartment, the door was locked, Raven Lawrence said.

Police were called and, when investigators entered the apartment, John Lawrence was dead.

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

Originally, police said he was killed by blunt force trauma to the head, but they’ve since backed off that statement. The final autopsy and toxicology reports won’t be ready for a few weeks, and police have not spoken more about the potential cause of death in the case.

Detective Joe Yuhas was not able to be reached Thursday by for comment on the latest developments in the case.

Yuhas told the case would be turned over to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office Wednesday morning for potential charges.

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



Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

Death at Peninsular Place: It will be reasonable to rewrite this story and report the death at Peninsular Place. At this stage, we will be speculating if this event is reported as the killing of a person. In the previous incident at Peninsular Place that involved Julia, none of us know as to the date and time of her death. If this deceased person had a serious medical condition, he would have requested for some assistance while responding to the phone call from his daughter. At a minimum, the City of Ypsilanti may be requested to conduct a complete inspection of the entire complex and check for violation of Housing Codes. At least, the story confirms that there are occupants in the building and the owner may not be aware of their presence. There is always a risk if a building is occupied by unregistered people.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Appropriate headline for suspects who should not have been released.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

I'm just curious that if we know he was hit in the head with a frying pan, why weren't they charged with assault and/or battery?

Jack Gladney

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Maybe there is a question of self-defense, which is not assault or battery. So far we have heard from one person in this case, and she was allegedly outside the locked apartment with a gun.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

Now there is a valid comment/question.

Nick Danger

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

Your kidding me right? I am so glad my kids don't go to EMU and live in the Peninsular Place apartments.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

This has nothing to do with EMU... Why would you say that??

Jack Gladney

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 4:16 a.m.

The gun will tell the rest of the story.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 4:14 a.m.

I just have to point out that these apartments are rented by the room. You can pay additional to have a private bathroom but you share a living and kitchen space with, often times, someone you don't know. You don't sign a lease with a friend or spouse like other places. These apartments are meant for students. Not young mothers who are going to have their baby's father staying over all the time, trying to raise a family in Peninsular Place. It's ridiculous. Also, I believe these young girls, and guys, are moving to Ypsilanti to attend EMU, and Peninsular Place is attractive, modern, and affordable. But not knowing the area, you wouldn't know you are on LaForge across from the projects. This girls Father was coming to assist in an altercation she was having with her roommate (WHO WAS IN THE WRONG) and he RESPONSIBLY asked his daughter to take his weapon to his vehicle so he didn't have to spend the rest of his life n jail for shooting someone over an argument, and look how this ended. And now these people are free to walk our streets. How is that justice. Where do morals and humanity override a constitution that was made when humans had morals.

Jack Gladney

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

@Jnk734 Re: The locked door... What IF... You just fended off one attacker. You are with your baby and then there is a woman outside your door your with a gun trying to get in? Would you let them in?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

First of all, 'I just have to point out' they are apartments. You don't have to be a student to live there. Also, if you don't want to live in a 3 or 4 bedroom apartment with some strangers, sign a lease with your friends, pay $700+ a month for a 1 bedroom, or don't live at Penn Place. Who are you to say this young woman isn't allowed to live there? Yes, I'm sure the issue was regarding the boyfriend. Secondly, who says dad didn't lock the door and attack someone inside the apartment? You weren't there. There are three people who know what happened that night, and one is dead, so can it.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 8:30 a.m.

Negative. The man being hit in the head with a frying pan leads me to believe, beyond a resonable doubt, that there was foul play, and those two individuals were present at that time. I have not "charged and convicted" them, but I do believe that they should not be free to do as they please. What if they skip town and eventually charges are brought on them, and they are no where to be found. Then the Lawrence Family will never even have a chance at justice for their loved one. How is that fair?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 6:45 a.m.

So I guess it's not possible then that he could have died from a medical issue, right? Or a fall or any of a number of other possibilities. The autopsy is not even complete yet, but you have already charged and convicted two of the involved parties.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 4:48 a.m.

No I was not there. But those suspects two were. They locked the door, and when the daughter re-entered with police the man was dead. How hard is that to figure out?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 4:40 a.m.

Were you there when this happened? The police and the prosecutor have been examining the situation for several days and still don't know who, if anyone was "wrong." Unless you were there, you don't know either.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 4 a.m.

This is exactly how Washtenaw county operates. They release violent criminals onto our streets so they can do it again, then it's a lot easier to lock them away for good. Lazy, careless system. God bless America.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

Hawk, if you have video evidence of this incident, I'm sure the police would love to view it, and the prosecutor would love to then file charges. Let the system work.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

tdw just a dead body.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

What bugs me is that they are pursuing more vigorously the youths involved in the Pioneer/Huron football brawl than the two murder suspects. Go figure.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

do you have some evidence/facts the police don't ?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:44 a.m.

well, if history repeats itself, just like in previous crimes we read about, they'll do it again...thanks for protecting our community!


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

George Zimmerman has been charged. Since when did everyone get their JD? We only indefinitely hold people without charges at Guantanamo, but that's for another thread


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

Solitude you mean like George Zimmerman.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 3:42 a.m.

Of course...better to keep two people who may not have committed any crime or broken any laws in jail indefinitely. That will keep you safe.

Joseph Maino

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

Oh my goodness!!!!!! They were released! What the heck is that judge or jail or police thinking? Holy moly! Wow! Speechless.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 4:03 a.m.

How about "common sense" ? Was there a ghost in the apartment that killed him? Unless there are more than those two suspects, (which police hasn't mentioned anyone else) then who do they think killed this man?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:26 a.m.

The prosecutors know their job. If they don't think there's enough evidence to charge, they're most probably right. That doesn't mean there won't be more evidence and charges in the future. Be patient.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:29 a.m.

How about, "The Constitution"?


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:56 p.m.

Why not just close the comments? A little trigger happy tonight?????


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 10:34 p.m.

"as long as it takes to get a picture of what happened" -inspector Clouseau


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 10:02 p.m.

Best of luck to the two suspects.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 9:59 p.m.

What is going on?


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

"Originally, police said he was killed by blunt force trauma to the head, but they've since backed off that statement." The above statement, taken from this article, is contradicted by the below quote, published in on Tuesday ( "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 police have not, at any time, said he was "killed by blunt force trauma."

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

Solitude: From that exact same story. "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."