The suspected perpetrator of the Monday mass shooting at Michigan State University had a 2019 felony weapons charge against him dismissed under a former county prosecutor decried for her lenient prosecution approach, according to reports.
Anthony McRae, 43, allegedly shot and killed three Michigan State University students, injuring five others before ultimately killing himself, according to police. He had pleaded guilty in October 2019 to misdemeanor possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle, with prosecutors dismissing an initial felony charge of carrying a concealed pistol without a concealed carry permit, Ingraham County court records cited by The Detroit News show.
This occurred during the tenure of former Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon, who retired at the end of 2022, the Lansing State Journal reported. Siemon said she didn’t believe life sentences without the possibility of parole, receiving calls to resign for limiting felony firearm possession charges and giving a plea deal to a man who killed two women and allegedly planned to murder two others.
Records said police originally arrested McRae in the concealed carry case in Lansing in June 2019, according to The Detroit News. The felony he was initially charged with was legally punishable by up to five years in prison, but he received a 12-month probation sentence for the misdemeanor conviction in November 2019, with probation expiring in May 2020 after a six-month extension enabling him to finish the probation order’s terms.
“Even if he were convicted by a jury of the original charge, Anthony McRae would not have been recommended for a jail or prison sentence,” current Ingham County Prosecutor John Dewane said in a statement sent to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The sentencing guideline score would have been the same if he had been convicted of either the original charge (Carrying a Concealed Weapon) or the offense for which he was convicted (carrying a firearm in a vehicle).”
Court documents indicated McRae claimed in June 2019 that the handgun in that case was registered to him but he had not yet been able to get a concealed weapon permit, according to The Detroit News.
Paul Rodney Tucker, a neighbor of McRae’s father’s Lansing house, told the outlet he knew McRae lived at that location “because there was constant trouble there” and reported hearing gunshot target practice at the house in summer 2022. Neighbor Megan Bender said McRae engaged in what she thought was target practice by firing out of the house’s back door and police had been called there due to gunshots.
Siemon did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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