Judge orders prisoner who sued city to pay balance of settlement to crime victims.

May 5, 2015
Malone appears in court via teleconference.

Malone appears in court via teleconference.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Judge Susan Sniegowski ordered a Ludington man, who is serving multiple prison terms for crimes in Mason and Oceana counties and who won a $15,000 excessive force case against the City of Ludington, use part of his settlement to pay restitution.

In Nov. 2014, the City of Ludington settled with Travis Malone for an incident that occurred in August 11.

In July, 2013, Malone was sentenced 5 to 15 years in prison by 51st Circuit Court Judge Richard Cooper. On Oct. 17, 2012, Malone and Marshall Brault set a house on fire at the corner of Pere Marquette and William streets in the City of Ludington, stole a vehicle and then broke into the Wishing Well store near Pentwater. He was sentenced for arson and unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle in Mason County’s 51st Circuit Court. He had also been sentenced earlier in Oceana County’s 27th Circuit Court for his involvement in the Wishing Well breaking and entering.

Part of Malone’s sentencing in the Mason County case involved paying restitution to the victims of his crimes.

Dean and Dayna Franklin of Manistee, owned the house on Robert Street where Malone and Brault stole a gas can and then lit an outbuilding on fire, prior to setting the North William Street house on fire. Dean told MCP that he became aware of Malone’s settlement with the city and found out that he had a balance of money, after paying court costs and attorney fees. He then contacted his attorney who contacted Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Spaniola.

Malone had to pay over $8,000 in court and attorney fees for the federal law suit against the City of Ludington. He had a balance of $6,950.57. Today, 51st Circuit Court Judge Susan Sniegowski ruled that that money, in accordance with the Michigan Crime Victim’s Rights Act, shall go to the Franklins. The total restitution owed to the Franklins is $22,045.

Dean Franklin said he and his wife were in the process of selling the Robert Street house. Because of the fire, they were forced to tear down the outbuilding and sell the house at a lower cost.

“It’s nice to have something settled,” Franklin said.

Malone is serving his prison sentence in the Macomb Correctional Facility. He appeared in court via teleconference. His attorney, Christina Doss of White Lake, was in the courtroom. Malone did not speak during the hearing.

Doss said her law firm was not aware of restitution claims at the time of the settlement and she had requested that the remainder of the settlement money go to Malone. Judge Sniegowski disagreed.

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