My wife Kim and I live on a 16 acre farm in Solon Township in Kent County.
We are trying to get a beef operation going, but make some money with our egg business.
I love to restore old wooden motor boats. (DO YOU HAVE ONE THAT'S BEEN IN A BARN FOR YEARS?)
I love to fly radio control airplanes and the ones with strings that we all had as kids! Anyone have some of those lying around?
My best buck is a rather small eight point, but it is hanging in my office.
My best fish was a King Salmon I fought for 45 minutes on the lake. But it got away.
I grew up in Chicago and remain a dedicated Cubs and Bears fan.
THIS GUY IS WORTH TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!
There is some speculation in their piece but more facts. I’ll let you know which is which. Javonte Higgins is the guy Kentwood police say killed Dave and Vivian Bauman in their quiet Kentwood neighborhood earlier this month.
I have come to the bitter conclusion that the Bauman’s would be alive this morning if the Kent County Prosecutors office and our Kent County Justice system had done a better job protecting them and other innocents.
Here’s the suspected killers background. His crimes seem to be centered around Kentwood. Police ran into him for the first time when he was 14 in 2005. I am guessing Higgins was a gang member. We know that cops were called because he was a runaway. Over and over again cops caught him holding marijuana. He was picked up for beating someone up, he was charged with resisting arrest, and he broke into at least one home. My guess is he broke into a lot of homes. That’s how this guy puts food on his table, money in his pocket, and gets his drugs.
He and a buddy pulled a royal screw up right after he turned 17. They broke into a home in the Gaines Township Crystal Springs neighborhood. They got in by breaking a window. A terrified woman was home. She locked herself in the bathroom, and called police. They got there in one quick hurry, spotted these guys in the area, and were able to match their footprints to the break-in scene.
Higgins was charged with a 20 year felony, but he squealed on his buddy and got away with just three years.
In 2010 Higgins was out of prison and back to his same old crimes. In September 2012 he was caught again. A neighbor spotted him in the 5000 block of Ticonderoga in Kentwood. Long story short, the cops caught him with a car full of stolen loot and the tools used to break into homes.
Now get this, the prosecutor has him as ex con and they only charge him with second degree burglary.
He spent a few weeks at the county jail, and then a judge sets bond at $15,000. They very next day he makes bail and walks. I don’t know for sure, but I’d bet there is a bail bondsman somewhere that put up the 10% of the bond in cash.
That takes us up to the end of October or early November. On December 5th, Higgins stole a pickup truck in Wyoming. A short time later Kentwood cops fell in behind him and tried to pull him over. Higgins took off like a bolt of lightning and a short time later plowed into a tree at Kalamazoo and Gentian. The truck was destroyed and by all rights Higgins should have been killed. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with broken bones.
Wyoming cops wanted to arrest Higgins on the spot, but
the Kent County Prosecutors office said no. If he’d been arrested the County would have had to pay his medical bills. What more, the sheriffs department would have to guard him at the hospital. So there was no guard, and instead of the county paying his bills, Medicaid will get stuck with the bill.
That makes no difference to you and I, the bill will still be paid by taxpayers.
The prosecutor asked the hospital, and I don’t know which one, to call them when Higgins was about to be released. They’d planned to have a deputy pick him up and haul him back to Kent County Jail.
Higgins is a bad guy, no question, but I am guessing he’s no idiot. He knew he was looking at serious time for the September burglary and the December truck theft and wreck. As soon as he was able, he dragged himself out of his hospital bed, caught a cab and disappeared.
That was the end of December. Higgins was still pretty messed up and was using crutches to get around. He laid low somewhere until detectives say he was back to his evil ways on the early morning of January 5th.
That Saturday morning people who live at Arbor Park Apartments near 38th and Madison woke up to find a gold Cadillac on fire in their parking lot. Police ran the plate, and it came back to Dave and Vivian Bauman in Kentwood. An officer drove over, but no one answered the knock. The officer left.
A short time later a neighbor of the Bauman’s called police. He’d found evidence that someone had tried to break into his home during the night, and there were fresh footprints in the snow leading from house to house to house. Those prints led to a broken and bloody window at the Bauman’s. Police went into the home and found the couple, in their 80’s, shot to death.
For the moment, it was a mystery, who had done this terrible thing? By Thursday police were putting together a case.
They had a sketch of a guy someone saw hauling an orange five gallon bucket of gas to the stolen Cadillac at Arbor Park. Later that day Kentwood police announced Higgins was a person of interest.
I wondered how they’d come up with Higgins, and slowly put these pieces of the puzzle together. Just a few hours after the murders, and the car was set on fire, Higgins showed up at a bowling alley on Clyde Park.He was a regular there at a small stakes poker game. He dropped a quick fifty bucks and the other players remembered that he only had six bucks left in his pocket so he tried to sell some jewelry to get back in the game. The bowling alley allows the poker game on premises, but fencing stolen loot was a different matter. They threw him out.
The people there remembered that Higgins was still on crutches.
That was a clue for me. Police spoke of the footprints that led to the Bauman’s house. No one has asked, but I wonder if there were also “crutch prints”. I’ll bet there were, and here’s why. If you’re a detective you’d have to look at the crime scene’s MO and asked which burglars do we have around here who does his crimes in Kentwood, who breaks windows to get into the house, and is on crutches. Then add this: The sketch of the guy who carried the five gallon bucket of gas to burn the car. If you a guy on crutches, no way you’re going to be able to carry a five gallon bucket of gas. You need a helper. I don’t know this… but I suspect it. I’ll bet police zeroed right in on Higgins. Four days later they’d also had time for a hurry up DNA test on the bloody window.
There is more. If Higgins was on crutches during the break in, and I am betting he was, I’ll also bet he clumsily knocked over something in the Bauman house. Police have not said where the Bauman’s bodies were found. But they have said Mr. Bauman was shot in the neck, chest and head. Mrs. Bauman was shot in the chest and head. I’ll bet Higgins was caught red handed and fired at Mr. Bauman hitting him in the neck. Then I’ll bet he shot him in the chest and head, and murdered Mrs. Bauman to make sure there were no witnesses.
Five shots total. Again I am guessing, but Higgins unthis is point had been a small time crook. A lot of cheap handguns, the kind he might be able to afford, only hold five rounds.
Again, more speculation here. I’ll bet Higgins was trying to sell Mrs. Bauman’s jewelry on Saturday afternoon at the bowling alley. He might have gotten a few bucks for it somewhere else, but he probably doesn’t have much cash, and he’s the kind of guy who does a break-in when he needs money. I’ll bet he doesn’t have the money to skip town or the money to pay someone else to drive him somewhere. I’m pretty certain someone is hiding him, and that person knows the reward in this case has topped ten grand.
I believe the Kentwood Police Chief when he says they’ll have this guy before long.
And keep this in mind.. it isn't just the cops. There is a bail bondsman out there looking to get his money back, and his bounty hunters are very very good and tracking down fugitives, especially when there a ten thousand dollar reward up for grabs.
In the meantime, I’d hate to be, and feel terrible for any young man of color on crutches. I’ll bet the 911 lines light up when anyone matching that description is spotted on city streets.