Saginaw Township man pleads guilty in death of businessman - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Saginaw Township man pleads guilty in death of businessman

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(12/16/13) - A man accused of killing a Saginaw County businessman earlier this year was in court, Monday, to admit to his role in the crime.

James Owens of Bridgeport Township was found dead in his home in June. Anthony Clapper was arrested a short time later.

At one time, Clapper worked for Owen's contracting company.

While he will be going to prison, not everyone is happy with the plea agreement.

Thirty-six-year-old Anthony Clapper faced 11 criminal counts in all, including first degree murder for the death of 77-year-old James Owens. Owens' body was found in his home on June 11. Court papers indicated the murder weapon was a cutting instrument of some type.

Clapper's attorney, Jim Piazza questioned his client to put the details of what happened on that night on the record.

"When you first went there that night, were you let into the house?" Piazza asked.

"Yes," Clapper said.

"And at that particular time, while you were there, did you produce a weapon, a knife?" Piazza asked.

"Yes," Clapper said.

"And did you then assault Mr. Owens and rob him at the time?" Piazza asked.

"Yes," Clapper said.

"And during the course of the robbery, did you cut him?" Piazza asked.

"Yes," Clapper said.

"And did he die as result," Piazza asked.

"Yes," Clapper said.

After Clapper cut Owens, he left the house, but returned a short time later.

"How did you get in the house?" Piazza asked.

"Yes," Clapper said. "I pushed a window open."

"You were not let in," Piazza said.

"No, I was not let in," Clapper said.

In exchange for a guilty plea of second degree murder, first degree murder charges were dropped, meaning Clapper will not face mandatory life in prison. He also plead guilty to stealing Owens' car, a shotgun, and other crimes.

Saginaw County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Boyd says sentencing guidelines put Clapper's minimum prison sentence to 26-65 years. He says Owens' family accepted the plea agreement.

Owens' business partner, Geoffrey Gardner, was not happy with the agreement. He told ABC12 on the phone that this was first degree premeditated murder and Clapper should face mandatory life in prison.

Clapper is expected to be sentenced to prison early next year.

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