There’s no way this can possibly go wrong.
The sister of a slain Ypsilanti woman is beside herself after a judge ordered the release of the murder defendant in the case, citing a lengthy time behind bars set to be exacerbated by the novel coronavirus.
Orlando Whitfield, 31, of Ypsilanti Township, faces an open murder charge in the January 2018 death of 25-year-old Marissa Edmunds.
Officials have said Edmunds was shot in the head and her boyfriend was critically injured during a robbery of them and two others Jan. 11, 2018, at the University Green Apartments, 725 Green Road in Ypsilanti.
Whitfield was arraigned the same month on the murder charge, along with four counts of armed robbery and possessing a firearm in the commission of a felony. He was denied bond.
Now, Whitfield has been in custody for 28 months while presumed innocent, Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Carol Kuhnke said in a May 5 order for a personal recognizance bond, with Whitfield restricted to an Ypsilanti Township home and using a GPS tether.
Kuhnke also cited the ongoing public health emergency and the Michigan Supreme Court’s order in response that jury trials be postponed until June 22.
Whitfield was released Wednesday on a GPS tether, said Derrick Jackson, director of community engagement for the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.
Neither Whitfield nor his Ypsilanti-based attorney, Erika Julien, could be reached for comment.
The release was bad choice for a dangerous man, said Marissa Edmunds’ sister, Amanda Edmunds, 32, of Ypsilanti.
She pointed to the timing of her sister’s death — two months after Whitfield was discharged from the Michigan Department of Corrections.
He had served time for assault with intent to commit sexual penetration for a 2007 incident in Washtenaw County. Prior to that, he was serving probationary sentences in Wayne County on two counts of third-degree fleeing police and operating or allowing someone to drive with an invalid license.
Whitfield faces up to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder or armed robbery, and Amanda Edmunds said that’s also a reason to keep him locked up.
“Who’s to say he’s not going to get out, cut his freaking tether off and then just disappear?” she said.
She also said the family kept a teenage sibling home from work out of concern for the release.