Testimony expected in Tuesday hearing for men accused in West Willow killing
Testimony is expected Tuesday during a preliminary exam for the two men charged with killing an Ypsilanti Township man in January, hours before he was to testify against one of them.
Courtesy of WCSO
Willie Wimberly, 30, and Avantis Parker, 21, are charged with multiple felonies in connection with the death of Brandon Charles, 28, on Jan. 29. Charles was shot and killed while sitting in his car in front of a home in the 600 block of Calder Avenue in Ypsilanti Township’s West Willow neighborhood.
Wimberly, of Trenton, and Parker, of Northville, are set to appear at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the 14A-1 District Court in Pittsfield Township for a preliminary exam. A judge will decide if there was probable cause to arrest the men for Charles’ death and if the cases will head toward trial by being sent to the Washtenaw County Trial Court.
Charles died hours before he was supposed to testify against Wimberly in a Detroit case. In that incident, Wimberly and Steve Smith-Rush allegedly shot Charles and a woman presumed to be his girlfriend in a road rage incident on Jan. 1.
Charles was going to testify against the two men at a preliminary exam scheduled for the morning of Jan. 30. However, he was killed before he got the chance.
Parker was the first person arrested and charged in the case. He was arraigned on Feb. 6 on charges of open murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and carrying a concealed weapon.
Charles’ death came four days after Parker pleaded no contest to two felonies and pleaded guilty to another for the robbery of a pizza delivery driver in Ypsilanti Township.
Records show Parker pleaded no contest to assault with intent to rob while armed and armed robbery, while pleading guilty to possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony on Jan. 25. Sentencing in the case was scheduled for April 17.
Six days after Parker was charged in the case, the U.S. Marshals Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team arrested Wimberly in Westland.
He was charged Feb. 12 with first-degree premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, being a felon in possession of a firearm and carrying a concealed weapon.
Deputies have not yet said which of the two men is believed to have pulled the trigger.
Both men are being held without bond, records show.