Jail ordered in attempted unlawful imprisonment


Staff Writer

CRYSTAL FALLS – Two men who pleaded guilty to attempted unlawful imprisonment charges in Iron County Trial Court have each been sentenced to serve six months in jail and two years of probation.

William Campbell, 20, of Iron River and Caleb Gardner, 20, of Waukesha, Wis. were sentenced for a May 26 incident in Iron River Township in which they put a female victim in the trunk of a vehicle.

The defendants were supposed to be sentenced earlier this month, but Judge C. Joseph Schwedler wanted to hear the victim’s testimony in order to resolve an issue on the Michigan Department of Corrections’ (MDOC) pre-sentence investigation.

Sentencing guidelines in MDOC pre-sentence investigations are used to find the minimum range of incarceration for felony offenses.

Gardner’s attorney Don Powell had felt that his client should not have been scored on a variable dealing with “sadism” or “torture” of the victim. If scored, Gardner’s sentence would be somewhere between five and 25 months. If not scored, Gardner’s sentence would be somewhere between zero and 11 months.

During sentencing on Monday, Iron County Prosecutor Melissa Powell informed the court that the victim has since moved to a different area and would be unable to testify.

Without her testimony, Judge Schwedler decided to go with the lesser range of incarceration time for each defendant.

Both defense attorneys, Don Powell for Gardner and Geoffrey Lawrence for Campbell, claimed that the incident in question happened because the defendants and the victim were engaging in underage drinking.

Don Powell said that Campbell, Gardner, and their girlfriends were out camping when Campbell and his girlfriend got into a heated argument. Campbell and Gardner decided to put her into the trunk of their vehicle and transport her to the main campground so she could call someone for a ride home, he continued.

According to Don Powell, they stopped before they reached the campground and Campbell’s girlfriend ran away into the woods.

“Because they chose to drink at that age, that’s why we’re here,” said Don Powell. “When you’re that young, you do bad things when you’re drinking.”

Melissa Powell pointed out that the defense attorneys’ version of events and the victim’s version of events are quite different.

She claimed that Campbell and Gardner sped away with the victim in the trunk. They then left her alone in the middle of the woods, she added.

When given a chance to speak, both Campbell and Gardner apologized for their actions.

“We didn’t mean to do any harm to her,” said Campbell.

“We take full responsibility,” Gardner added.

Judge Schwedler told the defendants that they were lucky no one was hurt.

He ordered that each defendant spend six months in jail and allowed Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) status. Defendants who are placed under HYTA status will not have a criminal record if they successfully complete all probation requirements.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is nyounk@ironmountaindailynews.com.