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Conviction upheld for man who killed his grandfather with hatchet

Posted at 11:39 PM, Mar 29, 2017

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A man who bludgeoned his grandfather to death with a hatchet in 2015 will remain behind bars.

This week, the Court of Appeals upheld the conviction and life sentence against Trent Humphreys-McPherson.

Humphreys-McPherson raised two issues on appeal following his conviction. He argued that the trial shouldn’t have allowed evidence into the courtroom regarding two home break-ins he committed with his girlfriend, Kerri Crawford. The pair broke into Crawford’s grandfather’s home and stole knives. Crawford’s grandfather corroborated testimony given by Crawford in regards to that case. On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals disagreed with Humphreys-McPherson’s argument that the evidence should have been withheld from the courtroom.

In his appeal, Humphreys-McPherson also tried to argue the court made an error when it declined to issue a jury instruction on involuntary manslaughter, and when it gave a non-standard instruction defining malice. The Court of Appeals also disagreed with that argument made by Humphreys-McPherson.

Humphreys-McPherson was sentenced in November 2015 after being convicted of felony murder. Under the advisement of an attorney, he didn’t make a statement at the time as he had been facing other criminal charges.

Records show he hit his 71-year-old grandfather, Dennis McPherson, approximately 30 times at his home in Muskegon Township. Defensive wounds on the body indicated the grandfather survived some of the initial blows. Prosecutors say he was killed over a monetary dispute.

“It cannot be seriously contended in this case that defendant was not subjectively aware that chopping a person with a hatchet in the head, neck, and torso 30 times would cause serious bodily injury or death,” said the Court of Appeals in its ruling. “Further, defense counsel argued only that defendant was not present at the home and did not dispute that the murderer acted with malice.”

Under his sentence, Humphreys-McPherson will never be eligible for parole.