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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 2, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Michigan lieutenant governor sells troubled real estate

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan's lieutenant governor has sold a fire-damaged Detroit apartment building at a loss after spending about $226,000 to try to revive it.

A spokeswoman for the Detroit Land Bank Authority saID the eight-unit building was sold for $190,000 to a real-estate company. Garlin Gilchrist II purchased the vacant building from the Land Bank in 2016.

The property became an issue in the fall campaign when neighbors complained about the eyesore. Records obtained by The Associated Press detailed the planned sale.

The Land Bank had to approve the deal. The Detroit News reported the sale closed Feb. 21.

Gilchrist initially bought the building from the Land Bank for $13,500. On Thursday, he noted the sale went through, saying he's excited he gets "to serve the people as lieutenant governor."

Man did illegal dental work in Michigan basement, prosecutor says

CLINTON TWP. (AP) — Authorities say a man originally from Europe illegally practiced dentistry in the basement of his suburban Detroit home and allegedly used his church to get referrals.

Leka Gjokaj, 55, was arraigned Friday in a Macomb County court on a charge of being an unlicensed dentist. The Clinton Township resident was held on a $5,000 bond, but prosecutors say he may have overstayed his visa.

An Albanian interpreter was on the phone to assist Gjokaj.

Defense attorney Paul Lulgjuraj said his client is a legitimate dentist, but he doesn't know if his client is licensed in Michigan.

A search found a dentist chair, an X-ray machine, molds for teeth and other items. Authorities said the man told them he was seeing one or two patients a day.

The felony is punishable by up to four years in prison. His next hearing is March 13.

Prisoner released; case broke ground over governor's power

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area man has been released from prison, more than eight years after then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm said he should be freed but then changed her mind before leaving office.

Matthew Makowski was released Wednesday. He spent 29 years in prison.

Granholm shortened Makowski's life sentence in 2010, making him eligible for parole, but reversed her decision.

Makowski took his case to the Michigan Supreme Court, represented by University of Michigan law professor Paul Reingold. The court in 2014 unanimously said Granholm's reversal was illegal.

The parole board last year approved Makowski's release. But it was delayed again by an unsuccessful legal challenge from the victim's family.

Makowski was convicted of murder in the fatal stabbing of a Dearborn health club co-worker. Makowski wasn't present when Pete Puma was stabbed in 1988, but he had arranged for him to be robbed.

Man, 33, convicted of murder at 13 charged with drug crimes

PONTIAC (AP) — A Detroit-area man who was convicted of murder 20 years ago at age 13 was charged this week with selling heroin and methamphetamine.

Nathaniel Abraham is now 33. Bond was set at $100,000 during a court appearance Friday in Farmington Hills.

Outside court, attorney James Galen said his client isn't "holding up so well."

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said investigators seized meth, about $3,100 and digital scales at a house in Pontiac.

Abraham faces drug charges in two communities.

Abraham was 11 in 1997 when he was accused of fatally shooting a stranger in Pontiac. He was convicted two years later. He was released from state supervision in 2007, but has had subsequent legal problems.

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