Jury hears full day of testimony in murder trial

September 19, 2023

Carlos Sanchez

Jury hears full day of testimony in murder trial

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor

HART — The trial of a 33-year-old Muskegon man accused of shooting and killing a 28-year-old man with a handgun June 12, 2022 began Monday, Sept. 18, 2023 in Oceana County’s 51st Circuit Court.

Carlos Andres Sanchez, of 3860 Manatee Ave., is accused of murdering Miguel Angel Gutierrez, of 4357 Louise St,, Muskegon. Sanchez, who is lodged in the Oceana County Jail on a $500,000 cash bond, is charged with open murder and felony firearm. He faces up to life in prison.

The killing occurred around noon in the backyard of a Rothbury area residence at 8537 S. Robinhood Dr. in Grant Township — the home of Crystal Ramona Gonzalez.

Sanchez fled the scene southbound on US 31 in his white pickup truck after the shooting, but was quickly captured by law enforcement in Muskegon County.

Oceana County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Swihart holds one of the magazines from the handgun that is the alleged murder weapon during his testimony Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 19, in Oceana County’s 51st Circuit Court.

Voir dire (jury selection) took place Monday, and a 12-member jury with two alternates was seated by 4 p.m., said Oceana County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Bizon. The jury with alternates includes eight women and six men.

Following opening statements by the prosecution and defense, the jury heard testimony from several witnesses Tuesday, Sept. 19, including Gonzalez and many first responders on scene that day. Testifying Tuesday afternoon were Department of Natural Resources Officer Micah Hintze, Life EMS Paramedic Mark Burmeister; Oceana County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Fillips; Oceana County Medical Examiner Investigator David Turner, Oceana County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Swihart, Oceana County Sheriff’s Deputy Dale Thompson, Michigan State Police Trooper Erin McGarry, Michigan State Police Trooper Matthew Demny; and Michigan State Police Sgt. Kelsey Case. 

Witness testimony during a preliminary examination in 79th District Court revealed that the victim suffered seven gunshot wounds. Dr. Jared Brooks, a forensic and anatomic pathologist, testified that the autopsy determined that the cause of death was “multiple gunshot wounds” and the manner of death was “homicide.” Dr. Brooks is scheduled to take the stand Wednesday morning, Sept. 20, said Prosecutor Bizon.

Dep. Fillips, who was first on scene, testified: “There were multiple bullet holes in the body.” He also said he observed “a line of shell casings — in a straight line across the yard.”

Witnesses were questioned by Prosecutor Bizon and then cross-examined by Sanchez’s attorney, Julie Springstead-Waltz.

“He just got out of his truck; walked towards us; and started shooting,” said Crystal Gonzalez during the preliminary examination. Gonzalez said the defendant, Sanchez, is the father of her children. “Carlos was messing with (the victim’s) baby mama, we were just going to talk to each other and get to know each other,” she said of the victim. “He got out of his truck; had a gun in his hand; and started shooting,” she said of Sanchez. “He emptied the round.” Gonzalez testified that Gutierrez had spent the previous three nights at her home prior to his death.

The trial is scheduled for two weeks.

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