On October 18, 1983, a lone suspect entered the Taco Bell on W. Stadium brandishing a knife. He vaulted the counter and ordered the employees to empty the cash registers. While the clerks were doing so, he became upset as they felt they were taking to long so he cut one of them on the arm with the knife.
He then took another clerk into the manager's office and ordered him to open the safe. Once this was done the suspect stuffed the money into a bag and fled out the rear door.
Officer Bob Lane was on patrol when the call went out and began chasing the suspect on foot, as he located him nearby. The foot chase continued onto Burwood and Winewood, with the suspect throwing down money as he was being chased.
The suspect then turned on Officer Lane and lunged at him with the knife. Officer Lane fired two shots at the suspect, hitting him once in the arm and once in the stomach. The suspect was taken to the University Hospital where he eventually recovered.
Murder of Nancy Faber
Most murders are committed by someone the victim knows. When a stranger murders someone, it only seems to make the crime that much more unbearable. This occurred on November 23, 1983, as Nancy Faber was leaving the Kroger store on Green Road.
Faber had left the store and was found in the 1900 block of Green Road in her Ford Fairmont. A passerby thought she was having a heart attack and when police arrived it was apparent she had been shot in the neck and was the victim of a robbery. Faber was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital and died two days later, never regaining consciousness. Faber was a speech therapist in the Plymouth-Canton School District and wife of Don Faber, columnist for the Ann Arbor News.
Faber's groceries were still in the vehicle but her purse was missing. Investigation found that she had checked out of Kroger's at about 8:00 p.m. and was traveling the short distance to her home. Detectives theorized that she was robbed as she entered her vehicle and the killer forced her to drive the short distance down Green Road, where she was then shot. They also believed the killer could have been from out of town, due to the close proximity of US-23.
Investigating the crime, detectives were stumped and had no leads to go on. They searched the city landfill in the hope Faber's purse was discarded in a trash can near the scene and then taken to the dump. This search was fruitless however.
The break came in mid-December, when Machelle Pearson contacted Trooper Henry Tyler of the Ypsilanti post and began talking about the Faber shooting. He became convinced she was involved with the shooting and turned this information over to Ann Arbor Detectives. Guilt possibly made Pearson contact the police, who without this contact, may have never solved the case.
Detective Richard Anderson obtained a full confession from Pearson and she was charged with the murder. Pearson stated she had approached Faber in the parking lot of Kroger's and asked for a ride to the 1700 block of Green Road. Faber agreed and while they were enroute, Pearson robbed and shot Faber.
In Pearson's taped confession, she stated she was forced to rob someone by her boyfriend Ricardo Hart, who threatened to beat her if she did not. She also stated she did not mean to shoot Faber but the gun just “went off.”
According to Pearson, on the day of the shooting she was driven by Hart to Ann Arbor in his Ford Maverick. This vehicle was seen near the scene of the crime right before the shooting. Pearson placed the blame on Hart stating that he slapped her in the parking lot of Kroger's, gave her the gun and ordered her to rob Faber who was exiting the store.
Pearson stated she walked up to Faber and asked for a ride to the Green Road housing complex. “I got in the car with her and he (Hart) was right behind us. We were talking and she asked my name, she thought she knew me.....and then we started riding and got about a quarter mile away from Kroger's.
“Then I kind of glanced back at the rear view mirror and I seen Ricky back there and I pulled the gun out. I said look, I'm being forced to do this. I said I don't want to, all I want is your money.
“And then she started getting excited and started reaching and I had the gun, but I didn't have my finger on the trigger, it wasn't even cocked and it just went off. I didn't even pull the trigger.”
On January 6, 1984, Ricardo Hart was arrested and charged with armed robbery and felony murder for the death of Nancy Faber. The gun that was used to murder Faber had been given to Hart by his step-brother. This step-brother also implicated Hart in the planning of the robbery as did Pearson.
At the preliminary exam for Ricardo Hart, his half-brother's girlfriend testified that Hart and Pearson celebrated when they heard the news of Faber's death and gave each other high fives stating, “Now there won't be any witnesses.”
Hart's half-brother also testified implicating Hart.
Murder of Brian Canter
A brutal unthinkable murder occurred in Ann Arbor on December 7, 1983. Brian Canter was found dead in the Huron River near Depot street on December 8. It was initially thought that he had committed suicide. A coroner's report found that he had been beaten and drowned, in what was obviously a murder.
Subsequent investigation lead to the arrest and murder warrants issued for Robert Williams and Lester Joiner. Canter was staying at the Salvation Army's Haven Shelter for the homeless where he met both Joiner and Williams. Canter was befriended by Richard Carr and they had been involved in an argument with Williams and Joiner. Due to this all four of the men were ejected from the shelter and began living on the streets.
On December 6, Williams and Joiner met up with Canter at a downtown arcade and talked him into going to an apartment located at 1122 E. Ann. There they proceeded to drink large quantities of liquor and Canter was forced to consume past the point of intoxication.
Williams and Joiner then began to beat up Canter as they are believed to have disliked him due to the Haven Shelter incident. They body slammed Canter to the floor and he suffered cuts and bruises during the assault.
After the beating Canter was locked in a closet while Williams and Joiner slept off the effects of the liquor. Once nightfall came, the two took Canter down to the Huron River where they continued to choke and beat him. Canter was then dumped, alive but unconscious, in the river where they then used a large stick to press his head under water until “there were no more bubbles.”
The arrests were made after a tip was supplied by a witness, who was present in the apartment when Canter was beaten.
In taped statements, both suspects blamed the other for the murder. Both did admit to taking Canter down to the river, tying him to a tree with a piece of a telephone cord. They both admitted to pulling the cord tight around Canter's neck, until the cord finally snapped.
Both told how Williams' penknife was used to try and cut Canter's throat, but the knife was too dull so, according to Joiner, “Williams stuck him a couple of times” near the throat. Williams had a slightly different version stating it was Joiner who was “sticking it in Canter's throat.” Both stated they then took Canter to the river and pushed him in. They then used a stick to hold his head underwater and drowned him.