Tent Murder Charges Dropped - Ludignton Daily News March 24, 1976
Baldwin Tent Murder Charge To Be Dropped By VANS STEVENSON Daily News Staff Writer BALDWIN—Murder charges against a 23-year-old Idlewild man, accused in the March 17,1975 rifle slaying of a Madison Heights man at a campground in the Pere Marquette Forest near here, were to be dropped this morning in Lake County Circuit Court, according to defense attorney Leon Kowalski. Kowalski told the Daily News Tuesday an open murder charge was to be dismissed against Leroy Lewis after a deposition taken Nov. 6 revealed the defendant was in a restaurant when a rifle was fired point blank 11 times into a tent occupied by Daniel Barnett, 37, and Bruce McAllister, 44, of Farmington. Barnett was killed and McAllister later recovered from wounds to his chest and elbow. Kowalski added that Lake County Prosecuting Attorney Edward Duckworth filed the motion for dismissal on the merits of the testimony in the deposition and further investigation between Nov. 6 and today. MRS. JANET BEAN, a waitress at the Deerwood Restaurant on M-37 near Baldwin, testified Lewis was in the establishment around 3 a.m., which was the time the shooting took place. Mrs. Bean added in her testimony Lewis had been in the restaurant several times previous to the night the murder took place and she was acquainted with him, but not a friend. Lewis was arrested April 4 after tire tracks found near the shooting scene matched those on a pickup truck he drove. Investigators Investigators also found a spent .22 caliber casing on the truck floor, matching a case found at the campground. Lewis was scheduled to go on trial April 19 and spent six weeks in the Lake County Jail before Circuit Court Judge Charles Wickens released him on personal recognizance bond pending trial following his preliminary examination. He had pleaded innocent at his arraignment. Reed City State Police Sgt. Wayne Johns, who is investigating the case along with Region 8 Detective Ronald Voss, said Tuesday he was not surprised with the motion for dismissal and declined comment on further investigation into the case. "We don't feel we have some lunatic running around loose because they went to a great deal of trouble to kill someone, Lake County Sheriff Robert Johnson told reporters after the incident. "We feel the assailant knew who he was shooting," Johnson added, "and when he left, left them both for dead." The killing was the first in the history of a Michigan state campground. campground. At the time of the murder, detectives said they believed the killer knew Barnett and McAllister and may have followed them from Detroit or waited in the campground until they arrived. Barnett, the father of two daughters, was a sales representative with George N. Sepetys & Associates Inc. of Southfield. McAllister is the art director at Medlrum and Fewsmith, Inc., a client of Barnett's firm. Families of both men said at the time they didn't know of any enemies either of the men might have had.