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Mount Pleasant-area murder, sexual assault suspect found competent for trial

Isaiah “Zeke” Gardenhire is scheduled to appear for a preliminary examination in court next month
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 11:23 AM EDT
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ISABELLA COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Legal proceedings are moving forward against the man accused of killing a young girl and sexually assaulting two women near Mount Pleasant after he was found competent to stand trial.

An Isabella County judge ruled that mental competency testing for 40-year-old Isaiah “Zeke” Gardenhire shows that he is able to stand trial on the charges against him. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 27.

Gardenhire is charged with murder and sexual assault as part of what police are calling a 45-hour crime spree earlier this month. He was on the run before calling ABC12 News and asking for help turning himself in.

Gardenhire met the Flint Township Police Department at Montego Liquor on Linden Road, where he surrendered to authorities.

He is accused of stabbing 13-year-old Adrie Dembowske to death at a residence on Isabella Road in Union Township outside Mount Pleasant on June 6. He also is accused of sexually assaulting two women while on the run from authorities.

Gardenhire was free on bond from another sexual assault case in Mason County, when the alleged crimes took place in June. His video arraignment was adjourned for a day after he made obscene gestures at the camera.

Gardenhire is facing separate charges in Ingham County related to a double murder in Lansing last spring. Lansing police say 39-year-old Harley Owens and his girlfriend, 29-year-old Kelsey Coon-Lennon were shot and killed in the 600 block of Baker Street on April 28 and their bodies were discovered on May 1.

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