Man arraigned in fatal stabbings of family
Sterling Heights — A 20-year-old man was arraigned Tuesday, accused in the stabbing of three family members, including two who died.
Marcus Kragness was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in 41A District Court. Police say the suspect has no criminal history and there’s no apparent motive in the assault that happened Monday morning. He was being held without bond.
Around 12:30 a.m., police responded to a call in the 39000 block of Lea Court from a woman who said her grandson was out of control and assaulting people in the home, said Lt. David Smith with the Sterling Heights Police.
When police arrived, they found three people with multiple stab wounds. One victim, the 79-year-old grandfather of the suspect, was dead at the scene, Smith said. A 44-year-old uncle and the 71-year-old grandmother were taken to Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, where the uncle later died. The grandmother is listed in critical but stable condition, Smith said.
“When the incident started, I believe he assaulted them in their sleep,” Smith said.
The suspect was at the home when police arrived and was cooperative with officers at the scene. He had previously lived in North Carolina and moved to Sterling Heights two weeks ago to seek employment, Smith said. He is believed to be the only suspect.
“There’s really no motive that we know at this point,” Smith said. “No alcohol or drugs that we’re aware of. ... He appears to be somewhat unstable.”
The suspect is expected to be arraigned Tuesday, Smith said.
Neighbors and friends identified the elderly couple as Jerome and Sandy Pastuszak and the uncle as Mark Pastuszak.
Vito Strolis, boyfriend of the couple’s oldest daughter, stopped by the home Monday afternoon to pick up the female victim’s purse on his way to the hospital.
Sandy Pastuszak suffered a collapse lung in the stabbing but was alert earlier Monday, Strolis said.
“Pray for her,” he said in a message from family. “And pray for the grandkids.”
As Strolis emerged from the home Monday afternoon, a neighbor stopped by with two young girls, who placed a hanging basket of flowers with a card under a tree in the front yard.
Neighbors said the Pastuszaks lived in their single-story, brick ranch for almost 50 years, after moving in as newlyweds.
“There’s nothing bad I can say about them,” said next-door neighbor Clare Cojanu, 77. “I can’t get over it; I’m kind of overwhelmed.”
Neighbor Victoria Malugin, 53, said she was awakened around 1:20 a.m. Monday by police at her door with news of the triple stabbing. It came as a shock to hear the Pastuszaks allegedly were attacked by one of the couple’s grandchildren, she said.
“They didn’t deserve this. I want everybody to know they loved their grandchildren,” said Malugin, pointing at a swing installed for the kids in the front yard of the home. The grandfather also set up a pool during the summer months, she said.
“He adored his grandchildren,” Malugin said. “He spent all summer with them.”
The suspect routinely visited his grandparents as a child, Malugin said. He used to spend time on Malugin’s porch with her kids, snacking on ice pops.
The man moved in with his grandparents a few weeks ago and often could be seen playing basketball outside, neighbors said.
Malugin said on several occasions she noticed the suspect getting into a car parked at the end of the dead-end street, where he sat for about a half hour with an unknown driver.
“That’s the only thing I saw that was unusual,” she said.
Cojanu also said she saw the suspect outside the home.
“He always acted kind of strange,” Conjanu said, adding the man often wore “odd hats” and once appeared to have shaved his head.
The Pastuszaks were wonderful neighbors who “lived for their grandchildren,” Cojanu said. They began attending church regularly after the death of their daughter years ago.
Jerome Pastuszak helped his neighbors shovel snow in the winter, took out the trash and picked up the newspapers, Cojanu said.
“He couldn’t have been a better man,” she said.
A family friend who stopped by the home early Monday afternoon said the couple was living with their grandson as well as a grown son.
Family activities weren’t rare for the couple, Malugin said.
“They raised their kids here,” she said. “They were beautiful people.”
Cojanu said she was still in shock Monday afternoon.
“They’ve always been good people,” she said through tears.
The neighbor said her thoughts are on Sandy Pastuszak, who remains hospitalized in stable but critical condition.
“I hope to God she’s OK,” Cojanu said. “I hope she makes it.”