Hearing for Harrison man in woman’s death awaits report

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

Clinton Township — A woman who lives across the street from Eric Matthew Schultz said she saw him yelling at a woman who was sitting in a car trying to back out of his driveway the night of Oct. 13.

Lauren Condon, 20, testified in court Monday that she called police after watching the woman struggle to leave as Schultz reached inside the vehicle and was dragged as the car drove forward.

“He sounded angry or agitated at her and she sounded mad also,” Condon said. “It took her a while to back out of the driveway.”

Schultz has been charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm in connection with the death of his girlfriend, Chantal Charlotte Rea, 48.

Rea was discovered around 7:50 a.m. Oct. 14 on the 39400 block of Cloverleaf in a car parked partially on a lawn about eight houses down from Schultz’s Harrison Township home, authorities said. Police believe Rea was fatally injured inside Schultz’s home before trying to escape in her car.

Schultz, 34, appeared in 41-B District Court on Monday for a preliminary examination that also included testimony from Macomb County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Craig Tench who responded the morning Rea’s body was found.

Tench said he saw a silver vehicle parked horizontally in a front yard on Cloverleaf and he and another officer saw Rea’s body inside. He said the vehicle appeared to have crossed a couple yards before it came to a stop.

Later, Assistant Prosecutor Bill Cataldo asked the court to adjourn the examination until Nov. 28 since the medical examiner’s report is still pending. Judge Carrie Lynn Fucca honored his request.

Schultz’ attorney, George Drosis, objected to adjourning the examination, saying the prosecution did not make a convincing case Monday.

“Frankly the evidence provided today amounts to nothing,” Drosis said. “People were put on notice in this matter that today was the time to exam and they have failed to produce adequate testimony.”

Cataldo said he believes the charge will be upgraded to second-degree murder once the report is complete.

Cataldo said outside of court Rea of St. Clair Shores had a deep cut to the back of her neck with shards of glass inside of the cut.

It is believed Rea moved from the driver’s seat to the back seat of the vehicle to lie down and then bled to death, Cataldo said.

Evidence technicians found a broken drinking glass and blood on the floor of Schultz’s house, he said. They also said there was an apparent effort to clean up the blood.

“The medical examiner has indicated that the cut in the back of her neck is a result of blunt force trauma,” Cataldo said. “So it had to be blunt force trauma with the glass item we found.”

Cataldo said it is still unclear what happened or where Rea went between the time she left Schultz’s house and the morning her body was found. Police reports from the night of Oct. 13 do not indicate that Schultz’s car was in the location where it was found the next morning, Cataldo said.

Drosis also tried to have Schultz’ bond lowered.

Fucca acknowledged that Schultz’ bond, set at $750,000, was high, but said she was worried about his history of alcohol abuse.

“I have grave concern with regard to this defendant and his inability to remain sober,” Fucca said.

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Twitter: @NicquelTerry