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Monday, August 10, 2009

[MI] Joni Holbrook charged with murdering husband, State Patrol Sgt. Melvin Holbrook

Michigan State Police Sergeant Holbrook was a shift supervisor and a fraud investigator at the Traverse City post.

...Deputies say when they arrived they found that Sergeant Holbrook had been shot dead in his bed. His wife again admitted to shooting her husband...

Posted: 8/10/2009
[Excerpts] Police are at the scene of a murder in Benzie County. Officers tell Northern Michigan's News Leader they arrested Joni Holbrook for shooting her husband, Michigan State Police Sergeant Melvin P. Holbrook in his sleep. The murder happened at a home on Derby Lane in Homestead Township just after 1:00 am. We have a crew at the courthouse, and will bring you continuing coverage tonight on 9&10 News at 5:00 and 6:00. [LINK]

by The Associated Press
Monday August 10, 2009, 3:17 PM
[Excerpts] The wife of a Michigan State Police sergeant has been charged in his death. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports 47-year-old Joni Holbrook was arraigned Monday in Benzie County District Court on an open-murder charge... Michigan State Police Lt. Bill Elliott says Melvin Holbrook was a 23-year police veteran assigned to the Traverse City post. Jim Amberg, an attorney for Joni Holbrook, declined to comment... [Full article here]

Posted: 8/10/2009
[Excerpts] Tonight police are still unsure what happened in a Benzie County home that left a Michigan State Police sergeant dead. Benzie County deputies say they found Sergeant Melvin Holbrook dead in his bedroom early this morning... Joni Holbrook, called 911 shortly after 1:00am today. They arrested her upon arrival at couple's home... The county prosecutor says she admitted on a 911 recording that she shot her husband while he slept. Police say Joni's 24 year old son was home at the time but did not witness the shooting... [Full article here]

By Melissa Smith
Monday, August 10, 2009 at 6:43 p.m.
[Excerpts] ...Homeowner, Joni Holbrook told central dispatchers that she shot her husband, Melvin Holbrook, a sergeant at the Michigan State Police Traverse City Post. "What did she say to 911 dispatch?" asks 7&4 News. "They were advised there had been an assault, not in those specific words but needed to get deputies there and three deputies responded immediately," says Benzie County Sheriff, Rory Heckman. Deputies say when they arrived they found that Sergeant Holbrook had been shot dead in his bed. His wife again admitted to shooting her husband. "She was calm and advised what had occurred...We don't know at this time what lead up to the incident. That is still being investigated by deputies," says Sheriff Heckman... Meanwhile, Sheriff Heckman says they're not releasing any information on a possible motive for the crime. "We've recovered some evidence. The crime lab from Graying state police post came down and evidence was collected and it will be examined by forensic scientists," says Sheriff Heckman... [Full article here]

Posted: 8/10/2009
The news of Sergeant Melvin "Paul" Holbrook's death hit hard at the Michigan State Police Post in Traverse City where Holbrook worked for much of his 23-year career. Holbrook was a shift supervisor and a fraud investigator at the Traverse City post. He joined the Michigan State Police in April of 1986. 9&10's Kalee Iacoangeli and photojournalist Jordan Nagel spoke with the post commander about how the Troopers will remember Sergeant Holbrook. [LINK]

[police officer involved domestic violence law enforcement fatality fatalities murder michigan]


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  5. Battered TooAugust 24, 2009

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  9. Oh boy. People will be mad that I deleted the comments... well some of you. But I have never seen such viciousness in the history of this blog. I did not realize just how bad it was until I got another LONG one that just came into my email to be approved that was awful too. When I came to this post and read them all one right after another all I could think is what is wrong with people?

    There's no party here, no celebration, none of you are God to be condemning anyone to hell, and none of you should delight in putting the screws to Melvin's family. That's sick.

    Amongst the trash talking there were some points that people deserve to make here - I will take excerpts from the comments and post them here together... editing out the cruelties and THE FOLKS JUMPING IN THIS TO TAKE SIDES WHO KNEW NEITHER JONI OR MELVIN.


    Post what you know or what it makes you feel or what can make things better or what is making it bad - but direct attacks on Melvin, Joni, or either family will no longer be allowed.

    I apologize for any pain these comments have caused.

  10. At that link that is above, "Neighbors didn't call the police...", there are 10 comments there too, I just read them, and although everyone might not comfortable with them - they can stay. The ones I took off of HERE went too far.

  11. The neighbors heard the abuse for years and wouldn't call the police!! It's amazing sometimes how people in the midst of it all won't help the victim of abuse. Escaping an abuser is not as simple as "just leaving."... People need to wake up with this issue!! Many victims don't call the police because they are afraid of what their abuser will do once they are released on bond. I hope her attorney is an expert on Domestic Violence!...
    ...They really should speak with his other wives and the huge number of girlfriends he had while married to each of the wives.... I hope each of the wives and girlfriends will come forward to help Joni and/or her attorney will approach each of the wives!...
    Neighbors, are you kidding me, why should it have been left up to her neighbors? Where were her friends and family, don't tell me they didn't know. This lady is a walking basket case, she is caring all of her emotions on her face, even I can see that and I've only seen pictures. I feel bad for her and what she must have gone through and even worse that someone didn't care enough to step in and help her...
    His family DID know... This wasn't the first wife he abused... The news media should talk to the "Brother Troopers" that worked with him in Coldwater, MI, they'll get a completely different story...
    ...Yes he made have made some mistakes through out his life but who doesn't. There is not one person on this planet that can claim they are perfect and have never messed up!And for the neighbors claiming they saw him throw her out, I know for a fact that you and Paul had disagreements before. Dont you find it a little strange that they are the only ones claiming she was abused? Also i'm pretty sure that Joni's family would have stood up for her if that was the case. Her son loved her and would never allow her to live in those conditions. He lived in the house with them. I'm pretty sure any son who was living with their mother and saw that happening would have defended her!... I just want people to know that the only things that need to be written about Paul are facts!... Thank you, Melvin Paul's Family and Friends
    My compassion goes to Melvin Paul's family. None of you deserve any of this. Nothing can bring the Dad, Brother, Son or family/friend back. I truly believe no one here means any disrespect to you. However, Paul's actions, even if unknown by you, will surface. They always do in death. It is an unfortunate thing, but death has a tendancy to bring things out of the closet and directly to the spotlight. We can all put a spin on the term "abusive" we can make assumptions and thrust blame. I knew Joni. I knew Joni before Paul. I knew her children. Paul, if truly innocent, is at peace. Joni & her son & daughter will never be. They will live with this this the rest of their days. A beautiful, functional, kind-hearted woman would not have snapped for no reason. Regardless of rumors and assumptions, something happened. Something robbed Joni of rational thinking...

  12. Most of you don't have a clue as to how complicated, sick and sad the situation was. The truth will come out and God help both families when it does. Both families are the ones left with the bleeding hearts and despair. They are truly all in hell with this.

  13. The comments coming in are very much like the ones I've deleted. If you don't see your comment appear here, read what I wrote above.

  14. Eric L. VanDussenAugust 30, 2009

    By Eric L. VanDussen -

    Benzie Prosecutor John Daugherty’s attempt to muzzle attorneys representing Joni Holbrook was rebuffed by District Court Judge Nancy Kida during a hearing last Thursday. Holbrook has been incarcerated since August 10, when she allegedly called 911 and admitted to shooting her husband, Melvin Holbrook, who was a Sergeant with the Michigan State Police.

    Daugherty alluded at the proceeding that Holbrook’s attorney, Jesse Williams, had violated Michigan’s Rules of Professional Conduct during conferences with the press in which he claimed his client was physically, mentally and sexually abused by her husband.

    Daugherty sought an order prohibiting all parties from making statements to the media that could possibly taint the jury pool and prejudice the People’s right to a fair trial.

    Williams’ co-counsel, Jim Amberg, argued that the defendant and her lawyers have an absolute First Amendment Right to Free Speech. Amberg cited a US Court of Appeals ruling that declared, “it is individuals, not the government, to whom First Amendment interests attach. To the extent that publicity is a disadvantage for the government, the government must tolerate it. The government is our servant, not our master.”

    When denying Daugherty’s motion, Kida opined that “it’s not appropriate to be addressing this in front of this Court ... and it’s not this Court’s duty to interpret those Rules (of Professional Conduct). Kida concluded by apprizing Daugherty that if he felt a violation of the rules had occurred, the proper venue to file his grievance is with Michigan’s Bar Association.

    Holbrook’s preliminary examination is scheduled to happen on September 28, at 1:30 p.m., with Judge Kida presiding.

    An unedited video of the entire gag order hearing is available online at:

    To view court documents pertinent to this case and post your own thoughts about this issue, visit the GT Cop Watch website at:

    See also:

    Judge denies gag order in Holbrook case - August 28, 2009 -

    No Gag Order In Benzie Murder Case -

  15. Saturday, August 29, 2009
    [MI] Judge rules murder-charged Joni Holbrook's defense team won't be gagged. (Does she need hospital testing?)

  16. Thank you very much. I'm watching the hearing now.

  17. From an anonymous family member (with the extra sharp barbs removed but the point left intact):

    As a family member of Paul I want to thank you for taking the disrespectful comments off. I had spent quite a bit of time in their house... Joni is not as innocent as her defense attorney wants to paint her. Remember people his job is to cast doubt in all your minds and somehow justify her actions. Actions which robbed my family of a father, son, and brother... I will never again have Paul to lean on in this life. I do have concern for her family and children. They didn't deserve this either. We all need to pray for everyone involved in this very difficult time. Sorry I just needed to vent a little, it is hard to read everybody making judgments without knowing anything about what it was really like in that house.

  18. So, what has happened in this case, I personally know the officers son and am curious to know if this woman will pay for the crime she committed.....

  19. AnonymousJuly 13, 2010

    So, anything you don't agree with you delete? Why even have a comment box then? I do know them both, fyi. Killing someone is never the righteous thing to do, however, Joni doesn't belong in jail. Treatment, yes. Prison? no way. I wish her all the luck and I hope to see a precedence set regarding law officers and their protective brotherhood. I feel sorry for the naive people that blindly respect and trust police officers, their profession doesn't attract the saintly type, think about it.

  20. The sick part of this is how he treated women bottom line. Such sick acts of barbarism are never acceptable. For those who say Joni should have called the you not think he should have sought help? Women abusers do not get better on their own and often the violence escalates till one or the other is seriously injured or killed...and by the way I was related to the Ankersons by marriage.


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