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COURT ROUNDUP: Man admits to April break-in

News Photo by Julie Riddle Justin Golder pleads guilty to an April armed robbery in Alpena’s 26th Circuit Court on Monday.

ALPENA — A Bay City man pleaded guilty on Monday to armed robbery at an Alpena home.

Justin William Golder, 32, was one of five people who walked in through the unlocked front door of a 5th Avenue home at about 11 p.m. on April 10 wearing masks and carrying guns, a survival-style knife, and a baseball bat, according to police reports.

According to a witness account recorded in a police report, four men, wearing bandanas, burst into the resident’s bedroom, where several people were sitting and smoking marijuana. The invaders held the residents at gunpoint, yelling at them and telling them not to move, according to the report.

Golder — wearing a clown mask and carrying a pellet gun resembling a tactical weapon — stayed outside the bedroom, barking orders at the others and telling them where to find marijuana.

The other men were much younger than Golder, who also uses the name Jay Williams, witnesses told police.

As they left the house, one of the group pointed their gun at the victim’s mother as she came out of her bedroom, according to the witness.

The armed robbery could result in a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. Golder’s habitual offender status will not be considered as part of the plea arrangement. He will be sentenced in December.

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An emotional outburst followed the sentence of Brodie Spence, an Alpena man who will serve 18 months in prison after police found cocaine in his car.

Spence was on probation after serving three months of a one-year jail sentence for sexually assaulting two teenagers when police found the drugs during a traffic stop.

He held up court for several minutes after he was sentenced Monday, begging for a second chance in Alpena’s 26th Circuit Court.

Making an impassioned plea for leniency to Judge Ed Black before the sentencing, Spence said he wants to use his long history of substance abuse to help Alpena. He hopes to create a sober living home for men, similar to one recently opened in Alpena to provide transitional housing for women leaving residential drug treatment, he told the judge.

“If I don’t follow through, throw away the key,” he said.

Spence already had his chance to turn his life into something good, Alpena County Prosecutor Cynthia Muszynski argued, noting a career of 18 felonies and misdemeanors.

If he wants to create a new life for himself, he can do that on parole, the prosecutor said.

Nobody can help people in recovery more than someone who has been through the battle, “and I hope you come back and do exactly that,” said Black, sentencing Spence to 18 months in prison, to begin immediately.

Spence reacted with high emotion to the decision, loudly pleading with the judge to change his mind and begging for more time as a sheriff’s deputy approached with handcuffs.

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A pending decision by the Michigan Supreme Court about the legality of eavesdropping may determine whether evidence will be allowed in an assault case against Tyler Randy Orban in Alpena’s 26th Circuit Court.

The case hinges on an accusation made during a phone call that was being recorded, unbeknownst to the woman Orban is accused of assaulting.

Michigan has, for decades, been considered a “one-party consent” state, in which recording a conversation is legal as long as one of the parties in the conversation knows the recording is taking place.

A recent decision by the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan challenged that notion, and now the state Supreme Court is being asked for a definitive interpretation of the language of the statute regarding eavesdropping.

Orban’s case, which appeared briefly in the 26th Circuit Court on Monday, will await the Supreme Court’s decision before attorneys decide whether the recorded phone call during which an accusation against him was made can be used as evidence.

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A plea offer of no more than 366 days behind bars was rejected by John Gaddy, a 22-year-old Saginaw man who police say was confronted by two angry women when he and a 17-year-old coconspirator tried to sell them crushed rock salt passed as methamphetamine in August.

Gaddy demanded a speedy trial and asked why he had been sitting in his Alpena jail cell for more than two months.

Gaddy is scheduled to go to trial Dec. 9 to 11. Several jury trials are currently scheduled for that timeframe, but people waiting behind bars have first priority, Black said.

Gaddy and Duran Lowe, 17, were chased by two Alpena women after the women realized the men sold them a fake drug. The women confronted the men in a parking lot and, after the men left, gave chase and bumped the men’s car, according to a police report.

When the men stopped again, Gaddy pulled a handgun on the women, police said. The men were stopped by police near Hubbard Lake Road, and a gun was found in the ditch nearby.

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