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Man in court for fatal stabbing, spree

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — An ex-convict repeatedly yawned and raised his middle finger Tuesday as he appeared in a mid-Michigan court in the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend’s daughter and a series of other crimes.

Isaiah “Zeke” Gardenhire’s arraignment was cut short by an Isabella County judge who said she would try to finish it Wednesday. Gardenhire surrendered to police Monday night outside a liquor store after he traveled to the Flint area in a stolen car. Gardenhire, 40, was wanted for a homicide and sexual assault reported early Sunday in Union Township, near Mount Pleasant. Authorities said Gardenhire’s girlfriend was assaulted and her 13-year-old daughter was killed.

Gardenhire is also accused of entering a nearby apartment, assaulting another woman and stealing a car.

“This is certainly a horrific tragedy and completely senseless loss of life,” prosecutor David Barberi said. “We know that these events caused an entire community to be on edge.”

Gardenhire has convictions for assault, home invasion and illegal possession of a gun, according to the Corrections Department.

Gardenhire has a pending criminal sexual conduct case in Mason County. He was free after being required only to post 10% of a $7,500 bond, Barberi said.

“If he remained in custody, frankly I believe this incident doesn’t occur,” the prosecutor said.

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