Upper Peninsula man charged with beating 74-year-old father to death

Gary Phillips-Donovan is accused of beating his 74-year-old adoptive father to death in Menominee County. (photo by Menominee County Jail, WLUC)
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HARRIS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) (11/22/2019) - A Bark River man is facing open murder charges after his father was found dead in a home in Harris Township Tuesday afternoon.

Gary Phillips-Donovan, 35, was arraigned on an open murder charge in Menominee County District Court on Wednesday.

According to court documents, 74-year-old Michael Allen Donovan, the adopted father of Phillips-Donovan, was found in the detached garage of his home at W546 US-2/41 in Harris Township early Tuesday, Nov. 19.

He had extensive trauma to his head and face.

His wife reported that their adopted son, Phillips-Donovan, had come to the home uninvited and let himself in earlier that morning. He began rummaging through the house.

Twenty minutes after Phillips-Donovan left, she found her husband Michael lying on the garage floor with his face bloodied.

The victim’s granddaughter was present when Phillips-Donovan arrived and reported that she observed him speaking with Michael Donovan and that she heard drawers being opened and closed in the bedroom next to her. She saw him throw something into the dumpster behind the Donovan's housing complex.

Harris Township Fire received a call later that day for a fire located inside a stove at N16255 Hannahville B-1 Road in Wilson, located in close proximity to where the victim was found. Personnel found charred remains of clothing inside the stove.

The Menominee County Prosecutor’s Office said a witness reported that Phillips-Donovan likes to hang out at that location often and placed him there that afternoon.

Bark River-Harris and Hannahville Indian Schools were both put on lockdown Tuesday afternoon while law enforcement searched for Phillips-Donovan.

After performing an autopsy, Menominee County Deputy Medical Examiner Joel Hensley reported that Michael Alan Donovan most likely died from blunt force trauma to the head and ruled it a homicide.