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Novi — A 58-year-old Milford woman who told police she beat her husband and family dog last month to end “suffering” was charged Wednesday with open murder.

Yvonne Helen Cortis was initially charged with assault with intent to commit murder in the beating of 68-year-old Gregory Alan Cortis, but when he later died from injuries, the charge was enhanced to open murder.

She is also charged with animal cruelty, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison, for injuries to their golden Labrador retriever. The dog has survived and is under treatment.

In a video arraignment from the Oakland County jail, Cortis told Novi 52-1 District Judge Michael Batchik she understood the charge, which can carry a penalty of life in prison. Cortis appeared calm, her hands folded in front of her and said she will retain her own attorney to defend her against charges.

After being advised the Milford couple’s adult daughter’s fear of her mother prompted her to install a security system at her home and obtaining a personal protection order, Batchik ordered Cortis remanded to the county jail in lieu of $1 million cash surety bond. A Dec. 23 probable cause hearing is scheduled before Novi District Judge David Law.

The daughter told investigators her mother had been treated for mental illness and exhibited violent behavior when she was off her medication.

A forensic examination has also been ordered for Cortis that could take until March, a court employee said Wednesday.

Milford Police investigators said Cortis called 911 at 11:35 p.m. Nov. 30 to report she had hit her husband and their dog at their home in the 1300 block of Nortoon and explained they “were no longer suffering.”

Gregory Cortis, who had been diagnosed with dementia, had been struck multiple times with a large metal rod, also used to attack the 11-year-old dog.

According to court records, Yvonee Cortis, had formerly lived in Canada and was employed at a Milford catering company as a $10-an-hour “slicer.”

Milford police had been to the home on other occasions in response to domestic violence incidents.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319

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