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Appeals court upholds conviction

MENOMINEE — Menominee County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey T. Rogg announced that the Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld the convictions and sentences of William Charles Ruleau in the September, 2017 breaking and entering of a Menominee business.

Ruleau, 56, was found guilty after a jury trial in October 2018 of breaking and entering a building with intent to commit a larceny and possession of burglar’s tools. He was sentenced to 6 to 30 years in prison by the Hon. Christopher S. Ninomiya, as a fourth habitual. offender.

According to court documents, Kari Jo Bunting reported that she is the owner of Component Solutions, located at 2219 10th Avenue, Menominee, ML At about 2:00 a.m. on 9/16/17, a surveillance camera recorded Ruleau, inside the office area of the business using a tire iron to break open filing cabinets. Bunting reported the business was closed at 2:00 a.m.. on 9/16/17 and $440.00 cash was taken from a cash box that was kept inside the file cabinet, that $400.00 to $500.00 in coins was taken from a Folger’s coffee can, and $60.00 cash was taken from a desk drawer inside the office area during the early morning hours of 9/16/17.

Ruleau appealed his convictions and sentencing, claiming that Judge Ninomiya improperly allowed identification testimony by a relative of Ruleau, who, after stating at trial that he was “100 percent sure” that it was Ruleau in the surveillance video and in the courtroom, while conceding that he “looks quite a bit different on the video than he does in court here today.” Ruleau had grown a substantial beard for the trial.

Ruleau also argued that the evidence pressent4ed to the jury was insufficient,” that and that his attorney was “ineffective,” and that Judge Ninomiya abused his discretion by scoring Ruleau’s Offense Variable 4, “psychological injury to victim,” at ten points,

On Thursday, September 17, 2020, the appeals court rejected all claims by Ruleau and upheld his convictions and sentencing.

Rogg stated that when he told his predecessor, William G. Merkel, about the court of appeals decision, Merkel said that it was “great news,” and that he “found my answer to why am. I here? To hold had actors like Billy Ruleau (who isn’t going to change) accountable.”

Rogg credited Merkel, who tried the case, with the result. “Bill did a LOT of good for Menominee County over the course of his 23-year career, even, if few people know or fully appreciate it. People like me, who worked with Bill on a daily basis, understand and appreciate the long and dedicated commitment he made to this community.”

Rogg further stated, “Mr. Ruleau is a career criminal. “His sentence needed to reflect the seriousness of the offense and promote respect for the law,” continued Rogg, noting that Ruleau’s first conviction for breaking and entering was in 1987.

“Judge Ninomiya has sent a very clear message to Mr. Ruleau, and the community he preyed upon, that our government will not tolerate continued defiance of the legal obligations imposed upon him in a civilized society,’ continued Rogg.

‘The only thing that can stop some people is a lengthy prison sentence, because the citizens of our community are simply not safe around this predator. I appreciate Judge Ninomiya supporting me, by this prison sentence, in protecting the citizens of Menominee County,” Rogg concluded.

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