Many people believe that police officers are never really “off” duty. In fact, many officers have made excellent arrests or have been key witnesses in incidents occurring while they were off-duty. One such incident occurred on a December morning during 1994 when Lt. David Lovell was walking downtown. Lt. Lovell was walking near S. Main Street, when he observed a man running towards a parked car. The man opened the passenger door and entered. While this may not be unusual, what the man did next was, or at least it was to this off-duty officer.
As the car pulled from the parking lot, the passenger lowered the back seat, hiding himself from view. Lt. Lovell immediately became suspicious of this person and wrote down the license plate. Lt. Lovell had no information that the person was involved in any crime at all. He would later learn that the Comerica Bank at the corner of Main and Huron Streets had just been robbed.
Armed with the license plate, detectives found the person the car was registered to, which turned out to be the bank robber's girlfriend. They were able to gather enough evidence to obtain a warrant for the suspect's arrest and he was apprehended. He was suspected in one other bank robbery in Ann Arbor and 14 others in neighboring counties.
While rape is a very brutal and demeaning crime, it always seems worse when the victim is young. Such was the case of a northside abduction and rape, where the suspect was arrested after a case of good police work.
The victim in this case was a 13-year old who was riding her bike in her neighborhood in broad daylight on April 13, 1998. While doing so, she was approached by a lone male in a pickup, who abducted her and threw her bike in the back of his truck.
The teen's face was covered with a pillowcase and she was driven to a garage nearby, where she was raped. The suspect then placed her back in the truck, took her back to her neighborhood and set her free. The victim was able to obtain a description of the suspect and his vehicle, which was broadcast to area officers.
Officer Andy Zazula responded and began driving throughout the neighborhood, looking for the suspect. He observed the suspect's truck about a mile away from the abduction site, parked with a flat tire. At first he did not think it was the vehicle involved, but inspected the truck and found items inside, which the victim had described to the officers. He then observed the suspect nearby and placed him under arrest. The suspect confessed to the kidnapping and rape and was sentenced to life in prison.
When sentencing him, Judge Donald Shelton stated, “This is a horrible crime. It violates our basic sense of security. The random nature of what you did terrifies everybody. I do not believe it was in any sense a lustful act. I do believe it was the act of a sociopathic young man.”
Another excellent piece of police work ended with the arrest of a local man for a rape which occurred on June 19, 1998. This incident was also frightening as the suspect entered the home of a westside woman as she was sleeping, during the early morning hours.
The suspect entered the home and raped the woman, who was never able to get a look at her attacker. A DNA test was conducted as a sample of the suspects semen was found. Unfortunately there were no suspects in the case initially.
Investigators could find no forced entry to the home and the victim relayed that she had recently hired a contractor to do repairs to it. Three men were given a key to the residence and these three men were interviewed. A blood sample was obtained from two of them and the samples were sent to the crime lab to see if they matched the sample taken from the victim.
It took two months for the tests to come back and the two contractors went about their business, not knowing if they were to be charged in the rape or not. In early October, investigators received the results back from the lab finding the match they were looking for.
Andrew Magee's DNA was found to match the sample taken from the victim and a warrant was obtained for his arrest. When the detectives went looking for Magee, they ironically found him working on a house directly across from the victim's. He was arrested and charged with the rape.
At Magee's sentencing hearing he boldly asked the judge for a deferred sentence, saying he was an alcoholic and physically small, which would put him at risk in prison. He also complained that his name had been “dragged through the newspapers.” He felt it was “best for him to enter an alcohol treatment center with no prison time.”
Judge David Swartz did not see it this way stating, “I find it curious that you suggest you be sentenced as a drug dealer or other person guilty of substance abuse, when in fact this was anything but a substance abuse case. This was a brutal crime that obviously changed this woman's life. I also find it curious that I didn't hear one word of remorse, one word you were sorry.”
With that the judge sentenced Magee to 15-40 years in prison.