Gardenhire faces 12 charges, including murder, in Isabella County. 

June 9, 2021


Gardenhire faces 12 charges, including murder, in Isabella County. 

MT. PLEASANT — Isiah Gary “Zeke” Gardenhire, 40, of 4173 S. Isabella Rd., Mt. Pleasant, the man accused of killing an Isabella County teenager and raping the girl’s mother, was arraigned in Isabella County’s 76th District Court Tuesday, June 8. Gardenhire had recently bonded out of Mason County Jail where he had been arrested for criminal sexual conduct second degree (victim between age of 13-17) in a separate matter. 

On Tuesday, Gardenhire was charged with a total of 12 counts, including one count of homicide, multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct, armed robbery and carjacking.

On May 27, 2021, he was arrested by Mason County Sheriff’s Office on a felony charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct (victim between age 13-17). Bail had been set at 10% of $7,500. A probable cause hearing was scheduled in Mason County’s 79th District Court today. Gardenhire has a criminal record, with his most recent prison sentence stemming from weapons charges in Mason County. 

Gardenhire is the main suspect in the stabbing that took place at a residence on South Isabella Road in Isabella County’s Union Township on Sunday, June 6. Investigators from the Michigan State Police Mount Pleasant Post were called at about 3:15 a.m. Sunday to the home for an alleged sexual assault of an adult woman and homicide of a female teen. Union Township is about four miles west of Mount Pleasant.

Following the arraignment, Isabella County Prosecutor David Barberi discussed the case. 

“There was a domestic assault that took place on south Isabella road,” Barberi said. “That assault took place between Mr. Gardenhire and his girlfriend. During which time, he forced her to engage and complete in an act of sexual assault. At some point during that altercation, Gardenhire’s attention turned to her daughter, who was in the home as well. When Mr. Gardenhire went to retrieve her daughter, it’s our understanding that the mother escaped the home, went to make contact when the police and when police arrived, they found that the mother’s daughter had been stabbed.”

Within the following 45 hours, Gardenhire broke into an apartment which lead to the multiple other charges he is now facing.

Police said Gardenhire turned himself in early Tuesday morning in Flint.

His bond was set at $3 million.

If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, Gardenhire was discharged from prison Feb. 12, 2020, after serving about four years for a felon possessing a firearm conviction out of Mason County. He had also been imprisoned for home invasion second degree out of Ingham County and had been convicted in 2000 of assaulting a jail employee/attempting to escape and attempted felonious assault in Isabella County. He was sentenced to three years in prison for each charge.

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