30-year-old Flint murder case delayed due to defendants’ deteriorating health, trial preparations – MLive.com

30-year-old Flint murder case delayed due to defendants’ deteriorating health, trial preparations – MLive.com

Genesee County Circuit Courthouse on Tuesday, April 26, 2022 in downtown Flint. (Jake May | MLive.com)
FLINT, MI – The deteriorating health of two people accused in a more than 30-year-old Flint murder case has caused a delay in scheduling a trial in the case, attorneys said Thursday, May 19, in Genesee County Circuit Court.
Gabrielle Elaine Houston, of Flint, and Kareem Mohammed Grant, of Saginaw, were scheduled to appear before Circuit Court Judge Mark W. Latchana for a final pre-trial hearing on multiple murder charges stemming from the 1991 murder of Ida Houston, Gabrielle Houston’s mother.
While it was possible a trial date would be provided during Thursday’s court hearing, attorneys in the case, citing the declining health of their clients and a long list of clerical tasks, said an imminent trial would not be possible.
“We have made some progress on this case; however, my client is dealing with some very significant health issues,” Jessica Mainprize-Hajek, the attorney representing Gabrielle Houston, told Latchana.
Both Gabrielle Houston and Grant, who were originally charged in August 2017, are free on bond, in part, because of their health and communication concerns, Latchana said.
Grant appeared in court in a wheelchair, with a blue mask covering his mouth. Houston was not in court.
Mainprize-Hajek said she has had difficulties meeting with her client due to her health factors. She asked the court to schedule a future pre-trial date that would serve as a deadline for discovery, as well as a deadline to have all transcripts and witness lists needed for the trial preparation.
Grant’s attorney, Barry Wolf, agreed with Mainprize-Hajek’s request, while also noting that he would likely be filing a motion in support of having multiple juries in the case. That alone could prompt unique issues, Latchana noted.
“(There are) logistic issues of having two juries with the rising COVID numbers as of right now, as well as the issues surrounding the additional transcripts that are necessary,” the judge said. “My intention today was to schedule trial dates because of the aging cases, but I think there are valid reasons why we cannot do that at this point in time.”
Sam Fleet, the assistant prosecuting attorney handling the case for the Genesee County Prosecutor’s office, did not object to setting a future pre-trial date.
The next pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Sept. 7 before Latchana.
Ida Houston lived with her daughter and a sister at the time of her death, according to past MLive reports.
She was found with multiple gunshot wounds to her body on Dec. 20, 1991, in the foyer of her home in the 5700 block of Winthrop Boulevard, near Dupont Street and Pierson Road. She was later pronounced dead at Hurley Medical Center.
Police have said she had returned home at 11:20 p.m. from the Northwest Bowling Alley and a suspect was seen fleeing on foot from the back of the house.
In a news release at the time of the fatal shooting, police said Houston appeared to have been the victim of a robbery. Authorities later identified her life insurance policy, of which Gabrielle Houston was listed as a beneficiary, as the motive.
Gabrielle Houston and Grant were charged in August 2017 with first-degree premeditated murder, felony firearm, and armed robbery.
They face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted.
A third person connected to the case, Khalifah Boyd, previously admitted to fatally shooting her after being hired by Gabrielle Houston and Grant.
Ida Houston was a widow who worked for the Girl Scouts in Genesee County and attended Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. She was the treasurer of her bowling league and was carrying league money on the night she was killed.
The family previously told the Journal that Houston’s purse was taken from her the night she was shot.
Boyd later testified he received $2,000 for the murder, as well as $4,000 worth of cocaine.
Flint police previously said the charges against Grant and Gabrielle Houston, who were in a relationship at the time of the murder, also allege they were involved in a botched October 1991 attempt to kill Ida Houston.
Read more at The Flint Journal:
Cops charge daughter and friend with killing Flint mom 25 years ago
Triggerman admits to cold case killing, turns witness against two others
Attorney wants gag order for prosecutor in 27-year-old murder case
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