2018-02-11 / News

Lapeer man pleads guilty in ‘horrific case’

BY ANDREW DIETDERICH
810-452-2609 • adietderich@mihomepaper.com


Shaun Flowers Shaun Flowers LAPEER — A 30-yearold Lapeer man has pleaded guilty but mentally ill after facing a charge of assault with intent to murder in what Lapeer County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Sharkey called a “horrific case of domestic violence.”

Shaun W. Flowers entered into the plea agreement Jan. 31, less than a week before the case was set to go to a jury trial on Feb. 6 at Lapeer County Circuit Court.

Assault with intent to murder carries a conviction of up to life in prison. Sharkey said the sentence will be at the court’s discretion.

“This was a horrific case of domestic violence where the victim’s throat was slashed and she was left for dead,” Sharkey said. “Believing his girlfriend was dead, Flowers then attempted suicide by repeatedly stabbing himself in the chest.”

Both survived the event that occurred on July 31, 2016, Sharkey said.

On Aug. 2, 2016, Flowers entered into the record a “notice of insanity defense” through his attorney, Rex Ziebarth.

The move triggered a series of tests in which Flowers was required to participate.

Over a year ago, Flowers was found competent to stand trial.

Sharkey said his expert witness determined Flowers was not insane, but was mentally ill.

“A (guilty but mentally ill) plea resembles a standard guilty plea, but denotes the fact that the defendant is in need of mental health treatment in addition to punishment for his crime,” Sharkey said. “Flowers will be sent to the same Michigan Dept. of Correction Center as other defendants found guilty of crimes.”

Sharkey said he supports the plea of guilty but mentally ill in the Flowers case.

“I believe justice will be served because those who pled guilty but mentally ill are held accountable for their crimes, unlike individuals who may be successful with the not guilty by reason of insanity pleas when they are not insane,” Sharkey said.

Flowers is set to be sentenced March 29.

The Flowers matter is the third high profile case that appeared headed for trial in early 2018, but ended in a plea deal with Lapeer County prosecutors.

Last month, Tammy Leonard, 60, of Marathon Township, pleaded guilty but men- tally ill to a second-degree murder charge. In that case, Leonard had been charged with open murder following the Aug. 5, 2016 stabbing of her physically disabled son. She faces up to life in prison.

In a separate case, the last of three teens charged with making a false terrorism threat at Zemmer Middle School in early 2016 entered into a plea agreement in late January. The 15-year-old Deerfield teen pleaded guilty to four counts related to making the false threats of terrorism via computer. The teen — along with two other area 15-year-olds involved in the case who entered into similar plea agreements — will be sentenced March 1. They will be sentenced under the Holmes Youthful Training Act, which provides that after an extensive period of time (no less than five years), Sharkey has said, “it will be up to the court to determine whether he has ‘earned’ the right to have these 20-year felony convictions removed from his record.”

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