Suspects in criminal cases plead by mail

Three men involved in high-profile Marquette County criminal cases conducted court business by mail instead of making appearances in court Friday.

Court officials expected Michael Nelson, 46, and Robert Rajala, 33, to plead by mail.

Nelson is the suspect in a fatal hit-and-run accident that killed Robin Rahoi in Big Bay in December.  He is charged with failure to stop at the scene of an accident when at fault, causing death.

Rajala is accused of first-degree home invasion after a lengthy police standoff in Ishpeming last month.

Court staff did not know how the two men were going to plead to their charges.  Nelson and Rajala are both expected to appear in court for scheduling conferences Monday.

William Arbelius, 62, did not appear for his arraignment in Marquette County Circuit Court because he filed a plea by mail in which he stood mute to his charges.

He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman on the MarqTran bus that he was driving.  Arbelius is facing three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct to a mentally challenged female.

He will appear in court May 27 for a scheduling conference.