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Testimony heard in fatal stabbing case

MARQUETTE – Witnesses called to the stand Tuesday during the preliminary examination of murder suspect Derek Blemke offered chilling details of the fatal stabbing that claimed the life of 21-year-old Brandon LaFavre late last month.

Blemke, 24, of Ishpeming, was charged with open murder in connection to the incident that occurred inside an apartment at 2050 Wright St. in the early morning hours of June 24.

Marquette County 96th District Court Judge Karl Weber listened to the testimony of Marquette City Police Department Patrolman John Inch and two men who were present at the time of the alleged murder.

After receiving several calls to 911 just before 2 a.m. June 24, Inch and several officers arrived on the scene to find Blemke, Aaron Nordman and the deceased victim in an upstairs bedroom.

There was blood everywhere, Inch said.

“(LaFavre) was stabbed several times, with wounds all over his back and upper shoulders,” Inch said.

An autopsy revealed LaFavre suffered 24 knife wounds, with a fatal jab to the heart cited as the official cause of death.

Based on information collected at the scene, Inch gave an overview of what he believed to have had happened prior to his arrival.

Several subjects were reportedly gathered at the residence for a bonfire. A resident of the apartment, said to be Blemke’s ex-girlfriend, went inside to go to bed, and was followed shortly after by LaFavre.

Blemke later entered the residence and went upstairs to the room where LaFavre and the ex-girlfriend were in bed.

When Blemke attempted to enter the bed, he found his ex-girlfriend was not alone, Inch said.

Blemke allegedly took a spring-action pocket knife out and began to stab LaFavre.

It was around this time that LaFavre’s friend, Aaron Nordman, became aware of the situation. Nordman said he entered the room, struck Blemke, took his knife away and helped to restrain him until police arrived.

“You could hear Derek yelling and spewing profanity,” said Nordman, who also served as a witness for the prosecution. “I ran upstairs, saw blood underneath the door and kicked it down.”

Nordman said Blemke repeatedly yelled “look what you made me do,” directed at his ex-girlfriend.

After restraining Blemke and securing the scene, Inch said when he asked Blemke if he did it, his response was “absolutely.”

Inch described Blemke’s initial behavior as “eerily calm” and cooperative, adding that he appeared to be very intoxicated, although a Breathalyzer was not administered at the scene.

Before being put in the patrol car, Inch said his behavior changed drastically to combative. He was wrestled to the ground and threatened with a taser.

Weber determined there was ample evidence against Blemke to proceed with the case in circuit court.

He was scheduled to appear for an arraignment at 10 a.m. July 29.

Kelsie Thompson can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.