Community Notices

Watson crime spree suspect pleads, but faces more charges

Kenneth E. Lapham

Kenneth Earl Lapham, 35, of Otsego finally has pleaded in Allegan County Circuit Court to charges stemming from a series of home invasions a year ago in Watson Township.

Lapham on Monday, Oct. 2, admitted to breaking into the home of his his former mother-in-law’ on 116th Avenue and stole a Ruger 0.22 pistol, and then commandeered and drove away the Chevrolet Impala parked there. He was charged with eight crimes for that day in August 2016. One of the accusations is that he severely beat his girlfriend, Haley Jenkins of Martin.

Lapham remains in the Allegan County jail, awaiting a jury trial beginning Dec. 13 for two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, felonious assault and aggravated domestic assault.

He pleaded guilty before Circuit Judge Kevin Cronin to one count of home invasion, one count of unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle and one count of a felon in possession of a weapon. He had been prohibited from possessing firearms because of his 2009 conviction for operating a methamphetamine laboratory.

Haley Jenkins

The three charges were entered as a habitual offender, second offense, reduced from a fourth offense, thereby increasing by 50 percent the maximum sentence provided in sentencing guidelines. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4.

Lapham had been scheduled to plea in July, but, after conferring with his attorney, called it off. Two other two charges come with maximum five-year sentences, but could end up being entered as consecutive terms due to their connection with the home invasion.

Prosecutors, as part of a plea agreement, dropped a different count of home invasion, another count of driving away a motor vehicle, two felony firearms charges and two counts for stealing firearms.

Lapham was arrested along with Jenkins at the end of the spree; she pleaded guilty and was sentenced in the case earlier this year.

 

 

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