Neighbor charged with open murder after Walled Lake man killed

Neighbor charged with open murder after Walled Lake man killed in dog dispute

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Charles Simkins in court Thursday Charles Simkins in court Thursday
Victim Edwin Criswell Victim Edwin Criswell
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    Authorities say a dispute between neighbors in Walled Lake over a loose dog led to one man to fatally shoot another.
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(WJBK) -

The man accused of pulling the trigger and killing his Walled Lake neighbor after a dispute over his dog was charged with open murder and felony firearm Thursday. The judge also issued no bond.

Police say 28-year-old Charles Simkins shot his 45-year-old neighbor, Edwin Criswell, late Tuesday night outside their homes in the 1100 block of Sigma St. in Walled Lake. Police say the victim confronted the suspect about his dog getting loose and into the victim's yard.

"He did admit to me that a fight ensued which he had punched the victim, knocking him down. He did admit to me that he had pulled his handgun out and fired rounds," Detective Anthony Noble from Walled Lake Police said Thursday in court.

Those shots hitting Criswell in the thigh caused him to bleed to death in his front yard. Police say the shooting is a result of a fight that began after Simkins' dog was the loose again.

"He stated that he found his dog in that area and he walked up to that residence with a loaded handgun," Noble says.

Simkins told police he needed his gun for protection when confronting Criswell, and had a license to carry although the license recently expired.

"It's not illegal to have guns. And if you have a CPL you have the right to carry," says defense attorney Todd Flodd.

As more details emerged in court Thursday Simkins took a moment to tell his family he misses them. But the wide-eyed, sighing Simkins was seemingly unsympathetic to the family and girlfriend of Criswell.  

"I think he did want to speak and he does want to stand up for his rights," Flodd believes.

Despite discussions of Simkins having no criminal past, that license to carry and the possibility of the former marine suffering from post traumatic stress disorder also was discussed.

"I mean think about it, I haven't been in battle but I want to visualize that for a second. It's pretty crazy, so it's something I'm going explore," Flodd says.

Now, two families fight back tears.

"It was expected. This is an open murder charge. So, it's unfortunate, but at the end of the day we're going to try this case in a courtroom. He's ready for that battle," says Flodd.

Charles Simkins is due back in court for his preliminary exam on Monday. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

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