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Sheriff's Men Fume Over Arson Arrest

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Sheriffs Men Fume
Over Arson Arrest

By William B. Treml

(News Police Reporter)

The arrest and court arraign-
ment b 'gan State Police
of an E Michigan Univer-

' otinected with a Superior Town-
ship "murder scene" has set
off a wave of rumblings in the
Sheriff's Department.

Ralph R. Krass, 21, of Harper
Woods, was picked up at his
apartment at 1431 LeForge Rd.,
north of Ypsilanti, Friday after-
noon by two uniformed troop-
ers from the State Police Post
at Ypsilanti.

The officers said Krass has
admitted setting fire to hay in
a barn near a farm house on
LeForge Rd. where authorities
believe 13-year-old Dawn Basom

was murdered last April 16. The

the house.

^i-ciui a L'ejJailment deputies
were the first police officers on
ttirt c-nop,, 'vb"n the barn fire

unity detectives
, i, u^ H nivestigating the

:ize since that time.

After Krass was arrested at
his apartment, located close to
the Basom home on LeForge
Rd., State Detective Sgt. Max
Little arraigned the student be-
fore Ypsilanti District Court
Judge Rodney B. Hutchinson
who set a $5,000 release bond
on him. Unable to post the bond,
Krass was placed in the County
Jail where deputies booked him.

Yesterday morning when
Sheriff's Detective Lt. Stanton
L. ' and Detective Sgt.
JO&. ; , /.gerald were finger-
printing prisoners, they com-
mented briefly to Krass about
'''e state charge against him.

hen he told them it involved
the LeForge Rd. barn, they im-
mediately contacted Sheriff
Douglas J. Harvey.

The county officers say they
were never informed by the
Ypsilanti State Police of the 0; :!,; il;nment of Krass.

Sl , who was out
'"ft' y, was reported

cr the apparent
snub ui ni.s department in the
Krass arrest.

One report indicated " r r-
iff plans to contact Co

ick Davids, commander ui the
State Police, about the incident.

Common practice among po-
lice agencies in almost every
state involves the turning over
of evidence, prisoners and in-
formation on criminal cases to
the police force which is origi-
nally called into a case.

The five murders, committed
in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area
in the past 23 months, are being
investigated by five separate po-
lice agencies, including the State
Police and the Sheriff's Depart-
ment. While the probe is a
joint effort under the direction

r Prosecuting Attorney William

Delhey, jurisdictional lines
between the departments are
sharply drawn.

Two of the five cases—those

involving Joan E. Schell and
Maralynn Skelton—are on Ann
Arbor Police Department files
because both bodies were found
on the northeast edge of Ann
Arbor within the city limits.

The State Police Post at Ypsi-
lanti has overall control of the
murder cases of Mary Fleszar
and Jane L. Mixer. The state
was the first police agency
called when the Fleszar girl's
body was found on a private

dump in Superior Township and
when Miss Mixer's body was
discovered in Denton Cemetery
in Wayne County, east of V

The Sheriff's Department is
the principal agency in the
Dawn Basom investigation as
deputies were first called to the
spot her body was found on Gale
Rd. last month.

For the past six weeks, at
direction of Prosecutor Delhfc.y,
detectives from Eastern Michi-
gan University, where two f\t
the five victims were attend
when they were slain, have bc<.n
meeting regularly with sheriff's
officers, Ypsilanti and Ann Ar-
bor city police and state de-
tectives to discuss progress of
the investigation and to com-
pare notes.

Delhey has stressed to the of-
ficers the absolute need for co-
operation from all agencies in
the probe.

One Sheriff's Department
command officer said action in
the arrest and arraignment of
Krass by the state with no word
of the incident passed on to sher-
iff's detectives "makes us all
feel good."

In the past, shcr^'" "'otec-
tives have been iii by
Harvey to share tip^ ur niiorm-
ation with officers from other
agencies working on the Basom
case in the hope that pieces can
be put together.

In an arrest like the one in-
volving Krass the normal pro-
cedure would have been for
State Police to inform the Sher-
iff's Department of the pickup
and the charge and turn the
prosecution over to the county,
one command officer noted.

The state officers who picked
up Krass said the EMU student
told them he and two compan-
ions walked to the LeForge Rd.
farm house early on the morn-
ing of May 8 and set fire to
"some old, dry hay" in the
nearby barn.

The troopers said Krass told
them he and his friends fled the
scene when the fire started but
returned to watch the Superior
Township Fire Department ba*
tie the flames. Krass gave r,
reason for starting the fire,
troopers said.

The freshman student, who
until a year ago was an Army
military policeman, told state
officers he and two companions
were ordered away from the old
farm house on LeForge Rd. a
week before they set the fire.

He said a cruising Sheriff's
Department scout car stopper1
them as they walked near tli
farm house, questioned theni
briefly and ordered them to
move on.
Krass spent Friday night a;

most of yesterday in the C""'
Jail. He was freed last
when a professional boncbi,.,
appeared with Ann Arbor Di
trict Court Judge S. J. Eldc»
in the jail for a bond-posting

Krass was released after the
bondsman posted a $5,000 surety
bond with sheriff's deputies.

The college student is sched-
uled to appear before Ypsilanti
Judge Hutchinson later this
week when a date for a Dis-
trict Court examination on the
felony charge will be set.