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Man who tried running over man he thought was a child molester gets probation

1-22-17 Michigan:

BAY CITY, MI -- A 34-year-old man who tried to run over another man and said he did so to defend children has received a probationary sentence.

Bay County Circuit Judge Harry P. Gil on Tuesday, Jan. 17, sentenced Justin R. Aikens to three years' probation. The judge gave him credit for 57 days served in jail and deferred an additional 308 days, meaning Aikens will only have to serve them if he violates his probation.

The judge also ordered Aikens to pay $1,400 in restitution.

Aikens in December pleaded guilty to single counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and larceny by conversion less than $1,000. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed a charge of reckless driving.

The assault charge stems from police on the afternoon of Sunday, July 17, having responded to a complaint on Hart Street in Bay City after a 40-year-old man called 911 to report he was nearly run over. The man told officers a white panel van bearing a construction company's name had driven by him as he walked his dog. The van's driver yelled at the man and accused him of being a sex offender, the man told police.

The van then turned around and its driver attempted to get out, but stopped after presumably seeing the pedestrian's large pit bull, court records show. The driver then drove the van at the man and went over a curb in the process, the man told police.

The man avoided being struck by jumping onto a porch in the 1000 block of North Walnut Street, he told police. The female resident of the house, who did not know either person, gave police a similar account, saying she had no doubt the van would have struck the man had he not leaped onto her porch.

The complainant identified Aikens as the van's driver.

While officers were speaking to the man, they received another complaint that a van with a matching description was driving recklessly in the 1000 block of East Smith Street, court records show. The people who called 911 said they knew Aikens, court records show.

Days later, police interviewed Aikens. He denied driving his van at the other man and said he only went over the curb because of the vehicle's bad steering, court records show. He added the other man had been taunting him.

"I just don't like the guy and he knows it," Aikens told police, according to court records. "He's a child molester. Children need someone to defend them."

The National Sex Offender Registry does not list the victim as an offender.

Prior to that, a 53-year-old Pinconning woman in October called police and claimed she paid Aikens $1,400 to remodel her bathroom. She said she paid him Sept. 4 and after she called him multiple times, he showed up with two workers on Sept. 16, bought $99 in supplies, then left with the job unfinished.

Most recently, Aikens and 27-year-old girlfriend Heather N. Grauherr were accused of breaking into a pole barn in the 1400 block of Marchand Street on Aug. 19. The homeowner told police he was a friend of Aikens and that he bought the house from him before learning it was in foreclosure. He added he let Aikens keep some items in the barn, but he was not allowed inside without permission, court records show.

The homeowner said some wrenches worth $75 and a Craftsman air compressor valued at $150 were missing. The garage door had been broken off its hinges as though it had been kicked, court records show.

Police determined Grauherr had pawned the compressor for $50 that day, court records show. They later pulled over a car containing both Aikens and Grauherr.

Aikens and Grauherr separately claimed they alone entered the barn and took the compressor while their significant other stayed in the car, court records show. They both denied taking the wrenches, with Aikens saying he borrowed the air compressor without asking beforehand, court records show.

Grauherr in August pleaded guilty to attempted larceny in a building. In October, she was sentenced to two years of probation.

Aikens in late December pleaded guilty to retaining a financial transaction device without consent and is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 6. ..Source.. by Cole Waterman

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