Bond denied for 3rd defendant in auto parts slaying

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Bond was denied Thursday for the third person to be charged in the death of a retired Marine and Vietnam veteran who was shot during the robbery of an O’Reilly Auto Parts store on Detroit’s west side this month.

Eboni McEwen-Ross, 28, was arraigned before Magistrate Bari Blake Wood of 36th District Court on one count of felony murder, which carries a penalty of life in prison without parole, and two counts of armed robbery, a felony punishable by up to life in prison.

McEwen-Ross is due back in court for a probable cause conference Nov. 29 and a preliminary examination Dec. 6. She was remanded to the Wayne County jail without bond.

Eboni McEwen-Ross

McEwen-Ross’s defense attorney, Marlon Evans, told the magistrate his client waited until she had enough money and hired him before she turned herself in. She allegedly went to the lawyer Monday.

Evans asked the magistrate for a bond for McEwen-Ross, saying “she voluntarily surrendered (to authorities) ... and (she) does not pose a flight risk.”

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Trisha Gerard said McEwen-Ross did not turn herself in for two weeks after the crime. “She was fully aware that she was being sought out by law enforcement ... she actively and willingly hid from law enforcement,” Gerard said.

The prosecutor said McEwen-Ross is a flight risk and asked Wood to deny her bond. McEwen-Ross’s alleged role in the crime was not detailed in court Thursday.

Evans would not answer questions following the arraignment.

“It’s a sad case,” he said. “Sad on all ends.”

Last week, two others were arraigned in the shooting of James Haller Jr. Detroiters Shawnta S. Anderson and Leviticus V. Butler appeared for a video arraignment Nov. 9 before Wood.

Anderson, 23, was not given bond. Butler, 38, was given a $500,000 cash surety bond. The pair are expected back in court at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 21 for a probable cause conference and Nov. 28 for a preliminary examination, both in Wayne County Circuit Court in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.

Haller was in the back area of the store Nov. 1 while two cashiers were behind the counter helping customers when Anderson allegedly walked in and pointed a handgun at the employees. Authorities allege she ordered a male employee to the floor, then went to the other worker, pointed a gun and ordered her to open the store’s cash register.

When Anderson walked from behind the counter, Haller came from the back of the O’Reilly store and said “Hey,” according to authorities. Anderson allegedly fired a single shot, striking Haller in the head, and fled in an SUV.

Police and medics arrived shortly afterward and transported Haller to the hospital, where he was reported dead two hours later.

It is alleged that after Anderson fled the store, Butler acted as an accessory after the fact by helper her escape police.

Anderson is charged with one count of felony murder, punishable by up to life in prison without possibility of parole; two counts of armed robbery, a felony that with a maximum penalty of life in prison; and three counts of felony firearm, which carries a two-year prison term.

Butler has been charged with one count of accessory after the fact, a felony punishable by up to five years behind bars.

“By all accounts, Mr. Haller was a valued ex-Marine, employee, police reservist, husband and father,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said. “His death is heartbreaking. We will vigorously prosecute this case and do our very best to bring justice to Mr. Haller and his family.”

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