February 21, 2020

Sourander facing sentencing in manslaughter case

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WEST BRANCH — The date for sentencing in Patrick Sourander’s manslaughter case related to the 2014 shooting death of Brett Ritter has yet to be scheduled, according to information from 34th Circuit Court. 

Sourander, who is representing himself after his attorney recused himself during a Nov. 6 motion hearing on the grounds that he had previously represented someone who provided information on the case, filed four motions which were all denied at a Wednesday, Jan. 22 hearing, Ogemaw County Prosecuting Attorney LaDonna Schultz said.  

Sourander was previously found guilty in February 2016 of second-degree murder, felony possession of a firearm, felonious assault and felony firearm in respect to the felonious assault. However, he won an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals that resulted in his murder charge being overturned on the grounds that the jury at that trial was not instructed on the possible lesser offense of involuntary manslaughter. His felony firearm charge was overturned as well, as it was tied to the second-degree murder charge. Sourander alleged that during a struggle with Ritter, the handgun Sourander was holding went off, killing Ritter. 

Schultz said that while the Court of Appeals determined the court erred when it did not give instruction on involuntary manslaughter, Sourander was not granted a new trial. She said in order to correct the error, the Court of Appeals gave the option to enter a conviction for involuntary manslaughter instead. 

While involuntary manslaughter carries with it a 15-year sentence and/or $7,500 fine, Schultz said Sourander still faces a life sentence as he has a habitual offender fourth notice. She said he also still faces a felony possession of a firearm charge which carries with it a two-year sentence to be served concurrently with his life sentence.

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