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2 Dowagiac residents charged in shooting

Published 11:37am Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Niles Daily Star

CASSOPOLIS – Two unemployed Dowagiac men were arraigned by Fourth District Judge Stacey Rentfrow Tuesday afternoon on a total of 18 charges by video from Cass County Jail.

Steven D. Graham, 22, of 24935 Marcellus Highway, and Andrew Joseph-David Novotny, 24, of 56641 Glenwood Rd., are accused in the death Monday night on Morton Street in Wayne Township of Parick O’Riley Carter Jr., 26, of Dowagiac.

What Prosecutor Victor Fitz characterized as “extended gunplay” fueled by alcohol apparently turned tragic accidentally.

Fitz said Carter was shot once in the head.

Exact cause of death is undetermined until results of the autopsy conducted at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids are completed, according to Capt. Lyndon Parrish of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

Graham is charged with homicide-open murder, obstruction of justice, carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm in or at a building, felony firearm and possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle as a result of an incident which occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m. on or about Oct. 19 at 24433 Morton St., Wayne Township.
Fitz has also charged Novotny with obstruction of justice, accessory after the fact to a felony, possession of a firearm by a felon, carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm in or at a building, possession of a loaded firearm in or upon a vehicle and felony firearm as a result of an incident which occurred on or about Oct. 19 at 24433 Morton St., Wayne Township.

The defendants were arrested Monday shortly after 9:30 p.m. by the Cass Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with the Cass County Major Case Team.

Fitz reported events leading up to the fatal shooting of Patrick O’Riley Carter Jr. included extended gunplay by Graham, Novotny and others at 24433 Morton St. Alcohol was also a factor.

At the arraignment, Rentfrow denied bond for Graham, who indicated he intends to hire an attorney. Graham said he has lived on Marcellus Highway “off and on,” returning nine months ago to help out his father. He last worked steadily last winter and supports himself by working on cars at his house.

Fitz, who opposed bond, described Graham as a dangerous flight risk with a previous conviction for operating while intoxicating, which demonstrated a disregard for the law.
Fitz said when a gun discharged, Graham did not seek help for the victim or contact police, but set about concealing evidence as Carter lay dying on the floor.

Novotny, who followed Graham to the screen, saw his bond set at $500,000 cash/surety by Rentfrow.

Novotny told the court he has lived on Glenwood for five years and has not worked for three years.

His attorney said he is supported by his parents because of chronic back pain for which he is seeking disability status.

Novotny has always appeared in court as required and will continue when summoned.
He is not a flight risk, his attorney argued.

Novotny’s attorney said Carter’s death was obviously serious, but a tragic accident – not deliberate.

Fitz reiterated his argument against Graham, that Novotny “exhibited no true concern” for the victim with his actions that followed.

Preliminary examination for Graham and Novotony are set for Oct. 29 at 1:30 p.m. before Rentfrow.

Novotony is also scheduled for sentencing Friday by Cass Circuit Court Judge Michael Dodge for his Sept. 14 guilty pleas to manufacture of marijuana (a four-year felony), maintaining a drug house (a two-year misdemeanor) and possession of marijuana (a one-year misdemeanor).

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