Blemke sentenced

Receives 20-40 years for second-degree murder

Twenty-five-year-old Derek Blemke was sentenced to 20-40 years in prison for the murder of Brandon Allen LaFavre, 21, Monday morning in the Marquette County 25th Circuit Court. Blemke fatally stabbed LaFavre, who was sleeping when first attacked, in June 2016. (Journal photo by Jaymie Depew)

MARQUETTE — The 25-year-old Ishpeming man charged with the murder of Brandon Allen LaFavre, 21, was sentenced Monday morning to 20-40 years in prison.

In June 2016 Derek Blemke was accused of fatally stabbing LaFavre at a Wright Street apartment in Marquette. According to the autopsy report, LaFavre suffered 24 knife wounds including a fatal one to the heart.

Blemke, who was originally charged with homicide — open murder, pleaded no contest to second-degree murder charges in August.

The sentencing was held in the Marquette County 25th Circuit Court Monday.

Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wiese stated that upon arrest Blemke resisted the police and had to be taken to the ground. However, because of the nature of the murder charges, Wiese said charging Blemke with resisting a police officer would be unnecessary.

Blemke’s attorney asked that his client receive the minimum punishment — 13 1/2 years in prison — since he doesn’t possess a previous criminal record, has been employed since he was a teenager and due to his age, still has the potential to be a member of society.

LaFavre’s family members asked that Blemke be sentenced with the maximum penalty — life in prison. Several of LaFavre’s family members made emotional statements in front of Chief Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Mazzuchi.

Three of them stated they’ve had trouble sleeping and have been severely depressed ever since the incident.

Even though the sentence isn’t the maximum penalty, the punishment is at “the higher end of the guideline range,” Mazzuchi said.

The judge said she read numerous letters of support regarding Blemke and said everyone “seemed shocked.”

According to Mazzuchi, Blemke has several positive attributes — he’s educated, has the support of his family, and prior to the event, he lived a fairly ordinary lifestyle.

“The court is mindful of all factors,” Mazzuchi said. However, because “the method of murder was violent and very graphic,” Blemke received a higher sentence.

The judge stated that Blemke attacked LaFavre while he was sleeping and defenseless and that his violent actions “stemmed from jealousy.”

Through tears, Blemke apologized to LaFavre’s family and stated he wished he could trade places with (LaFavre) since he “didn’t deserve to die.”

Blemke received credit for 479 days already served.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is jdepew@miningjournal.net.