Menominee County Clerk announces the Jury's verdict
Thursday a Menominee County Jury found, Gregory S. Ihander, guilty in the September 20-15 stabbing death of Joleen Eichhorn. The jury convicted Ihander on a count of second degree murder, meaning it was an unplanned, intentional killing or a death caused by a reckless disregard for human life. Defense attorney, Karen Groenhaut, says she is at least pleased that the jury took as much time as they did in deliberations.
Prosecuting Attorney, William Merkel, explains the challenges he faced with this trial.
Ihander’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 13th in the Menominee County Courthouse.
49-year-old, Gregory S. Ihander, of Menominee Township awaits the jury's verdict in the Open Murder for the September 20-15 stabbing death of Jolene Eichhorn. The prosecuting attorney,William Merkel, relied heavily on the blood evidence in his closing arguments. Merkel urged the jury to review the blood evidence from Ihander's home and to pay close attention to the kitchen, which is the established location of Eichhorn's death. Merkel also suggests they look at the luminal evidence and blood spatter under the stove. He says,"the kitchen was literally a killing floor." Merkel finished by asking the jury to consider Murder in the First Degree. Next the defense attorney, Karen Groenhaut, addressed the jury by saying,"this case has been a deboccal from the very beginning." From the lead detective, Jean Balinger, making the evidence fit into the case. By choosing not to have the handle of the murder weapon tested for D-N-A. Ihander's leg brace being left out of testing, and tampered police reports. Groenhaut goes on to say that none of Ihander's family members were interviewed and crucial blood evidence that shows another person was present was excluded. She closed by stating, Jolene Eichhorn deserves a fair trial not an edited version which the prosecution has given. The Jury is currently deliberating and Ihander could be convicted with either 1st or 2nd degree murder.
At this weeks, City of Marinette public safety meeting, Marinette Fire Chief, Jay Heckel, addressed the committee with a formal request for them to consider replacing its current hovercraft. Heckle says what they currently have is unsafe, outdated, and doesn't function well on water and he has found one that could meet all of their needs.
Heckle also explained to the committee that the craft is 20-years-old and parts are getting harder to find.
After hearing Heckel's safety concerns the committee agreed to forward his request to the finance committee for consideration in adding the hovercraft to the Cities 20-18 budget.
On Tuesday February 21st, Prosecuting Attorney, William Merkel, first called to the stand Forensic Scientist, Jennifer Patchin from the Michigan State Police Crime Lab in Grayling who analyzed the blood stain patterns obtained from Ihander’s kitchen, Eichhorn’s vehicle and her autopsy reports. Merkel asked Patchin what the stains indicated from under the stove in Ihander’s kitchen.
Listen to her testimony
Merkel’s next witness Lead Detective, Jean Balinger , from the Gladstone Michigan State Police Post, took the stand and recounted the sequence of events from when Eichhorn was reported missing, leading up to when she questioned Ihander at his residence.
Listen to Balinger's testimony
Ihander’s trial is set to be completed this Friday.