Largely as the result of that testimony, Judge Stacey Rentfrow bound the 28-year-old Lintz over for trial in Cass Circuit Court. At his arraignment immediately after today’s exam, Greg Feldman, Lintz’s court-appointed attorney, entered a plea of not guilty.
Noticeably missing today was any mention of a possible motive for the stabbing and shooting death of John Tarwacki and stabbing, shooting and beating death of Carolyn Tarwacki. Still, Rentfrow mentioned the testimony of Patricia Wilds, a one-time girlfriend of Lintz’s cousin, Keith Brigham, and Karessa Warner, a former girlfriend of Lintz, as central to meeting the probable-cause standard.
Lintz will face two counts of first-degree murder and one of felony firearm at his trial at a yet to be determined date. If convicted of first-degree murder, he’ll serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Ten witnesses were called to the stand, the most compelling of whom was Patricia Wilds, 23. Wilds told special prosecutor Doug Baker she was living with Brigham at the time at Franklin Woods Mobile Home Park in Niles and that Lintz stopped by the home several days after the crime, asking if he could stay there a while.
“He was acting jittery, jumpy. ... He said, ‘I should have wiped my footprints,’ that somebody was going to catch him,’’ Wilds said. “He said he didn’t want to get caught, and he thought he was going to.’’
Asked why Lintz said he thought he’d be caught, she said, “Because of the footprints.
“He said, ‘They have my footprints but they don’t have my DNA.’ ’’
Wilds said Lintz appeared to be impaired at the time, adding later that she believed he was under the influence of either meth or cocaine.
Also, she said she observed a handgun in his waistband and the outline of a second gun beneath his clothing. She described the weapon in his waistband as silver with a black handle.
At one point, she said, he pulled out the gun and said, “Don’t bring a knife to a gun show.’’
In addition, Wilds said Lintz had a cast on his right wrist and she observed scrapes on the knuckles of his right hand that appeared to be fresh.
Under cross examination by defense attorney Greg Feldman, Wilds admitted she didn’t initially go to police with her information “because I was asked not to’’ by Brigham and at least one other cousin of Lintz whom she had previously dated. Keith Lintz was considered “family,’’ she said.
It wasn’t until September 2012, when she was pulled over on a traffic stop, that she volunteered the information, she said. Although the charge ended up being dismissed, she said she agreed to talk to a detective not to receive leniency but because she “thought it was time.’’
“My mother told me I should do the right thing,’’ she said.
The other key witness who provided testimony about footprints was Karessa Warner, 21, who appeared in handcuffs and told Baker she’s serving time on a meth lab charge. Warner said she dated Lintz in February and March 2010 and lived with him for two weeks on Carberry Road, five houses over from the Tarwacki home.
After her mother cautioned her about Lintz because of his possible involvement in the slayings, Warner said she asked him about the crime.
“I asked him why he was the No. 1 suspect in a double homicide and he said, ‘Because my footprints were going through the yard,’ ’’ she said. “I asked why his footprints would be going through the yard, and he said because he was going over to his grandfather’s.’’
After further questioning by Baker resulted in an admission by Warner that the home of Lintz’s grandfather wasn’t in line with the Tarwacki residence, Warner agreed she found Lintz’s reply “peculiar’’ but said she didn’t question him about it.
Other testimony involved Wrigley, the Tarwackis’ nearly 200-pound English mastiff that investigators discovered in a “mud room’’ off the porch at the rear of the house, and the discovery by Sharon McKnight, the mother of Carolyn Tarwacki, of a bloody knife in a refrigerator freezer on the back porch of the Tarwacki home two months after the crime. Baker said tests revealed the blood matched the Tarwackis.
More blood was discovered along a trail of footprints in the snow that led both to and from the back of the Tarwacki home. That blood matched that of Carolyn Tarwacki, Baker said. More testimony from crime scene investigator Duane Shears of the Michigan State Police revealed the set of tracks leading away from the house were farther apart than the first set, indicating the person who left them was running.
Baker said the Tarwackis both were shot first before they were stabbed. Carolyn suffered two gunshot wounds, was stabbed five times in the chest and abdomen, and suffered blunt-force trauma to the face and head, he said.
John Tarwacki was shot in the chest and face and was stabbed 10 times in the back, he said.