Cass Prosecutor: Death investigation continues

Published 10:04 pm Monday, November 24, 2003

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Karen Elizabeth Reeves died of a small caliber gunshot wound, Cass County's Prosecutor Victor Fitz said this morning.
Fitz would release no other information about the circumstances surrounding Reeves' death, other than to say, "we are at least two weeks away from a decision. We are awaiting a number of investigative reports, including crime lab reports."
Reeves, who lived at 1113 Carberry Road in Niles, was found dead there on Monday, Nov. 17, by Michigan State Police troopers, shortly after noon that day. Authorities have treated the death as a possible homicide.
Reeves' death is the second at the residence, owned by Steven Phelps of Niles, who also lives there. Phelps is the owner of Beachcombers Resort, a tavern on Rose Drive in the Barron Lake area of Howard Township.
Patricia Jo Lutin, who lived with Phelps, was shot to death at the home on May 24, 1982. Phelps was charged with second degree murder in Lutin's killing. However, he was acquitted by a Cass County jury.
Phelps claimed he shot Lutin in self defense while the two struggled with a .38 caliber gun. The Cass County Prosecutor unsuccessfully argued at Phelps' trial in January 1983 that Phelps waited for Lutin inside his home with a gun and shot her when she kicked in the door.