A Macomb County Circuit Court judge delayed the release of a convicted murderer Monday after prosecutors argued he still presents a menace to society. 

Thomas Brandon Zeller was sentenced to 15 to 30 years for second-degree murder and has served more than 18 years in prison. His expected release on June 5 was temporarily delayed by Judge Michael Servitto, who granted the Macomb County prosecutor’s application to appeal the Michigan Parole Board’s release order. 

Zeller was sentenced in 1998 after Gregory Castro was found dead from multiple stab wounds in his chest. Zeller fled after arguing over $200 and threatening to stab Castro in front of an eyewitness, according to a press release from the court. 

Zeller pleaded guilty and while in prison, he assaulted prison guards and was convicted in 2005 of assault with intent to do bodily harm. He also threatened to kill a female corrections employee and in 2016, he was convicted of assaulting another prisoner. He was sentenced up to 15 additional years for the crimes. 

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith stated Zeller received 31 misconduct tickets while in prison, including three in 2018.

“I am fighting on behalf of Gregory Castro’s family, including his mother and 8 siblings, who deserve assurance that this convicted murderer will not be a menace to society when the state releases him," Smith said in a press release. "How can we expect this prisoner to be crime free when paroled, when he has continued to be violent while in prison?”

 A hearing on whether to reverse the parole board’s decision will be held in the coming months.


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