Michigan appeals court denies Skaluba’s request

Nick Skaluba

ALPENA — An Alpena man who is accused of raping two women in Alpena will be headed to trial early next year, after the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled there was enough evidence that both victims may have been assaulted and drugged by him.

Nicholas Skaluba is charged with two counts each of criminal sexual conduct in the first and third degrees, and with a charge of delivery of a controlled substance to commit criminal sexual conduct. The prosecutor believes Skaluba put Xanax into the girls’ alcohol during parties in 2016 and then took advantage of them when the combination of drugs and alcohol incapacitated them.

Skaluba’s attorney, Dan White, filed an application of leave with the state appeals court, but it was denied and both sets of charges will move forward in Alpena County sometime in January.

On Monday, Skaluba’s friend Thompson Hein was sentenced by 46th Circuit Court Judge George Mertz for his actions at the parties, but Hein struck a deal with prosecutors to have his original criminal sexual conduct charges reduced to felonious assault in return for his cooperation in the case.

Hein was sentenced under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act.

Alpena County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Black said that, although his office agreed to the lesser charge, there was no sentence agreement made between him and Hein’s defense attorney. Mertz issued the sentence on his own.

Hein will serve 90 days in jail, 36 months of probation, 80 hours of community service and about $1,200 in fines and costs. Under HYTA, Hein’s conviction will be shielded from public view if he complies with the terms of his sentence and probation.

Mertz took the case when 26th Circuit Court Judge Michael Mack recused himself from it.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or 989-358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.