Prelim exams delayed for murder suspects

MANISTIQUE — Two alleged murderers appeared today for a motions hearing in Schoolcraft County District Court.

45–year–old Ken Brunke and 47–year–old Gary Cordell were both present Wednesday morning for the hearing. Both Manistique residents face three open murder charges in the deaths of three U.P. residents.

Their preliminary exams scheduled to begin August 3rd were adjourned until a later date. Right now, both sides need more time to put their cases together.

“I know pull out these two boxes of photographs that contain approximately 1,000 photographs in each box. I would be perpetrating upon the court anything other than to indicate that I received these yesterday and under no set of circumstances have I yet looked at these pictures,” said Michael Winnick, Brunke’s Defense Attorney.

“I would also agree with Mr. Winnick that the current schedule of the prelim, a day on the docket, should be reserved for further motions needed,” said Brian Rahilly, Cordell’s Defense Attorney.

“We are still awaiting DNA regarding the bodies located in the vehicle and regarding some of the evidence that was located in one of the homes,” said Schoolcraft County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Noble. “That DNA evidence has been submitted, however the results are still not available to us.”

The prosecutor’s office is also awaiting the autopsy results of Marietta Carlson, who passed away last month while she was in police custody.

“The untimely death of Ms. Carlson changes the nature of this case,” said Noble. “The court is obviously aware of that. We know what the cause is, what happened and some other things, but how it happened and some other things may or may not have an effect on where this case goes.”

The court agreed to push back the preliminary exams until September. Another motions hearing has been set for Aug. 3.

Brunke and Cordell are accused of killing 42–year–old Jody Hutchinson of Gould City, 31–year–old Carrie Nelson and 25–year–old Heath Aldrich of Newberry. Police found bodies of the three deceased people in a burnt vehicle in Doyle Township back in April.