More court actions expected before Somerset Center homicide case reaches trial




  • In US
  • 2022-11-30 18:12:44Z
  • By Hillsdale Daily News
 

HILLSDALE - A homicide case in the summertime shooting death of a teenager in Somerset Center has yet to be scheduled for trial.

Hillsdale County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Wiesniewski said Tuesday there will likely be additional motion hearings in the near term before a trial date is set for Kirk Thomas Culik, charged with open murder.

Culik appeared in the 1st Judicial Circuit Court Monday afternoon for a brief criminal pretrial conference.

Defense attorneys representing Culik filed a motion Aug. 29 to quash, or void, the preliminary examination that took place in July in 2B District Court, arguing 2B District Judge Megan Stiverson and the Hillsdale County Prosecutor's Office failed to address self-defense concerns before the case was bound over to the circuit court.

A preliminary exam is a court hearing conducted to determine whether enough evidence exists to send a case to trial.

Circuit Judge Sara Lisznyai remanded the case to the lower court at the time for Stiverson to consider testimony entered during the July examination and to apply the correct law to her decision before it proceeded further.

More:Homicide case that left teen dead goes back to district court after judge's error

The case was recently bound back to circuit court after Stiverson heard arguments from both the defense and prosecutor's considering self-defense claims.

Culik was arrested for open murder on May 22, just hours after an altercation erupted between him and a neighborhood teen - later identified as 16-year-old Robert Jeffery Flint, of Somerset Center - in front of Culik's home where the teen was shot and killed.

More:Somerset man arrested in teen's slaying

The charge allows a jury to decide the degree of murder in the case if it ever went to trial and resulted in a conviction.

Flint's brother, who was present during the shooting, testified during the July examination that Culik initiated an attack on his brother after a verbal altercation escalated.

Culik stepped out of his driveway into the road and confronted the teens and then allegedly shoved the victim.

During that altercation, the brother joined the altercation and at one point, Culik was knocked to the ground which is when he pulled a concealed handgun and fired one round striking Flint in the upper chest.

Flint was taken by paramedics to Henry Ford Hospital in Jackson where he later died.

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Wiesniewski argues that this is not a case of self-defense, as Culik is the one who initiated the assault on Flint and self-defense cannot be used if a person is engaged in a crime - in this case being assault - when an act of self-defense occurs.

Defense attorneys countered that was nullified when the second teenager joined the altercation, outnumbering the 66-year-old Culik who ended up on his back on the ground.

Culik faces up to life in prison if convicted as charged.

- Corey Murray is the Public Safety Reporter for The Hillsdale Daily News, Sturgis Journal and The Daily Reporter. Contact him by email at cmurray@hillsdale.net or follow him on Twitter: @cmurrayHDN.

This article originally appeared on Hillsdale Daily News: Additional motions to be filed in Somerset Center homicide case

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