The three individuals charged with premeditated, first-degree homicide and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Austin Culkins, 20, were scheduled to begin a jury trial in Genesee County Circuit Court on April 30.
It didn’t happen.
Frederick Daniel Clark, 30, Christian Lee Lover, 25, and Mataya Delores Shaw, 24, were charged with murdering Culkins, originally from California, by stabbing him to death in April 2018. The three suspects, all from Owosso, faced life in prison without possibility of parole.
There have been numerous actions in court to do with their cases since April 30. Clark and Lover were scheduled to begin their jury trials on Wednesday, Sept. 4. However, it was postponed again with no new date scheduled. According to court records, DNA analysis and the appointment of a DNA expert at the public’s expense was requested.
Shaw accepted a plea deal June 28. Count I, premeditated, first-degree murder was amended to second-degree murder. Count II was amended to conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance causing death. Shaw pleaded guilty to the amended counts.
According to Genesee County Circuit Court documents, Shaw “shall be sentenced to prison for mandatory minimum of 25 years with maximum up to life on amended counts I and II.”
She will be sentenced Friday, Sept. 20.
Although he is still in jail on the current charges, Lover was paroled in November 2017 after being convicted of breaking and entering and unlawful use of vehicle. The offense took place in December 2011; he was sentenced in April 2012. His parole on these crimes is set to end on Nov. 8.
Culkins was found in a Mundy Township field, near Baldwin and Jennings roads, on Saturday, April 21 2018.
According to a previous Times story, nearby residents called 911 just before 11 a.m. that morning. They said they saw a truck, which turned out to be an older model GMC pickup with California license plates, by some trees in the middle of their farm field at the northwest corner of S. Jennings and Baldwin roads. They found Culkins lying next to it.
Witnesses who testified in the summer of 2018 included Anne Davies, a Metro Police Authority of Genesee County officer, who was first to respond to the call.
After allegedly stabbing Culkins to death, it is believed the trio went to a nearby gas station. After they left, the gas station clerk noticed the wrapper from a stolen store item in the restroom and called 911.
Officer Gunner Wright of the Grand Blanc Township police stopped the three on foot. He said he found a pair of blue latex gloves with a red substance on them. Clark admitted to Wright that it was blood. He said he was drunk at a bonfire the night before and had hit his head on a tree.
All three were arraigned April 27, 2018. Currently, Clark is being represented by Major White, an attorney he retained. Lover is being represented by Glenn Cotton, who was appointed, and Shaw is being represented by Archie Haymen, a retired Genesee County court judge, who she retained.