October 23, 2018

Preliminary examination puts suspect on stand


TAWAS CITY — The motive behind the alleged murder of Roger Knickerbocker II was money, according to testimony from co-defendant Christopher Grinnell.

Grinnell, 24, of Hale took the stand in Iosco County District Court before Judge Christopher P. Martin and laid out his version of the details in the alleged murder of Knickerbocker during fellow defendant Daniel Olar’s preliminary examination.

Prosecutor Gary Rapp said Grinnell was called to the stand, along with forensic pathologist Dr. Kanu Virani via telephone, to establish motive and premeditation of the alleged murder.

“The preliminary examination is to show that a crime was committed and establishes the probable cause that the defendant committed it,” Rapp said.

Virani’s testimony established the wounds and cause of death of Knickerbocker, which were multiple blows to the head with a blunt object before being stabbed in the heart with a knife.

According to Michigan State Police Det. Sgt. Craig Johnson, Grinnell testified that he and Olar allegedly plotted to kill Knickerbocker for money.

Rapp said he was successful in presenting the evidence needed to bind the case over to circuit court.

Olar is scheduled for a pretrial in circuit court Jan. 8 at 10 a.m.

The body of Knickerbocker was found after a thorough investigation was concluded at his residence and property located at 5851 Snyder Trail in Hale in the early morning of Aug. 11.

Detectives learned about the murder after MSP troopers arrested a woman allegedly involved in a domestic assault Aug. 9. The woman, later identified as Kaylee Marie Willett, 21, of Pontiac, was arrested because of warrants out of Bay County.

While troopers transported Willett to jail, she became distraught and told troopers of the alleged murder, including the address where it had taken place. Upon later investigation, Willett’s story was validated and turned over to detectives to investigate.

On Aug. 10 Olar was arrested and lodged in the Iosco County Jail and arraigned in 81st District Court on one count of open murder.

It is believed Olar had been residing with Knickerbocker for more than a year.

Grinnell was arrested Aug. 11, lodged in the Iosco County Jail and arraigned Aug. 14 in district court on one count of being an accessory to a felony after the fact.

Willett, because of her knowledge of the murder and the fact that she didn’t come forward until under duress, was arrested, arraigned and charged with one count of accessory to a felony after the fact Sept 27.


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