How prior criminal case against Grand Blanc teen's alleged killer 'fell apart'

August 14, 2022, 12:55 PM

Jacob Hills. (Photo: Facebook)

The Detroit News last week reported that a man charged with fatally shooting a Grand Blanc teen in July was on the lam after skipping sentencing in a case where he was accused of shooting at his girlfriend then barricading himself with his infant daughter.

The paper now traces in detail how the case against Avion Sanders, 23 of Westland, "fell apart." It involved his girlfriend's lack of cooperation and some apparent inconsistency between her court testimony and the police account. A judge, having thus dropped the more serious charges against Sanders, did not require he be held in jail, but let him bond out on a tether.

Sanders initially was charged with several felonies, including assault with intent to commit murder, following the Oct. 24, 2020 barricaded gunman incident in the Courtyards Apartments in Taylor.

Taylor police ... were dispatched ... after someone reported that a man had fired shots at his girlfriend.

Sanders was charged with assault with intent to commit murder, which is punishable by up to life in prison, and other charges including domestic violence, child abuse, felony firearm and resisting, and obstructing a police officer.

On Jan. 25, 2021 Sanders was bound over for trial following a preliminary examination before former 23rd District Court Judge Geno Salomone, who set bond at $500,000.

But during a June 2, 2021 hearing in Wayne County Circuit Court, Judge Miriam Bazzi dismissed the assault with intent to commit murder charge and other charges "based upon insufficient evidence," Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller said Friday.

Miller said the victim testified at the preliminary exam that "she was running off to the right while the defendant and gun were pointed to the left," prompting the judge to dismiss the more serious charges.

Amended charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, domestic violence, 4th degree child abuse and felony firearm were all dropped when the victim didn't show up for trial. Sanders was convicted of only resisting and obstructing a police officer, and did not show up to his February sentencing after an initial October sentencing was postponed.

Sanders is now accused of having killed Jacob Hills. The 18-year-old's body was found in a Detroit basement last month after he went missing with an AR-15 he received for graduation. His mother said at the time that he'd been lured to a party in Dearborn Heights by "so-called friends" she believed wanted to steal from him.

Read more:  Detroit News

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