Lake grandmother charged with shooting child’s father – Dead man shot six times in the head

April 24, 2015

The Chase Run Apartments in Mt. Pleasant where the shooting took place.

The Chase Run Apartments in Mt. Pleasant where the shooting took place.

By Pat Maurer

A 52-year-old Lake woman, Mary Lou Bigford, is in the Isabella County Jail on first degree murder charges after she allegedly shot the father of her grandchild in the parking lot of the Chase Run apartment complex last Saturday.

A neighbor notified police around 12:30 p.m. April 18 of shots fired at the 3700 block of South Isabella Road. Officers dispatched to the scene found Lawrence Howard Jr., 39, of Fenton dead in his silver Dodge Journey from multiple gunshot wounds.

Neighbors, who witnessed the shooting, also reported that a woman identified as “Mary” drove out of the parking lot in a green and silver Pontiac Aztek. Another person traveling in the area said he saw the suspect vehicle turn west on Broomfield Road.

Police said Saturday that they believed Bigford’s daughter and granddaughter lived in the apartment complex. They were located by police unharmed later that evening.
Mt. Pleasant Police Public Information Officer Jeff Browne said the scene was processed by the Michigan State Police Crime Lab and officers from the Mt. Pleasant Police Department. Earlier it was reported that he noted that Bigford was not the owner of the Aztek, which was registered in East Jordon.

Police said Howard was shot six times, once in the head. A witness identified Bigford as the shooter in a photo lineup, police said.
Officers from the Mt. Pleasant Police Department, with the assistance of the Michigan State police, arrested Bigford at her Garfield Township home in northwest Isabella County later on Saturday without incident.

The motive for the shooting was not known, although police investigators believe it could have resulted from a family dispute. The shooting is still under investigation.
According to an article in the Morning Sun Wednesday, the child’s mother, Latesha Bigford, had filed a motion in January saying her daughter may have been physically or sexually assaulted by her father and asking for temporary jurisdiction and suspension of parenting time. Howard’s Flint attorney said Child Protective Services investigated the allegation and “found no evidence that Howard molested his three-year-old daughter. An investigation and examination at DeVos Children’s Hospital also showed no evidence of abuse. She withdrew the motion March 12.

At her video arraignment under Chief Judge Paul Chamberlain in Isabella County Court Monday, Mary Bigford was charged with first degree homicide – open murder; carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent; assault with a dangerous weapon; and weapons – felony firearms.

She is currently being held at the Isabella County Jail without bond pending a bond motion by her attorney.
First-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life without parole. Carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent is a five-year felony, felonious assault is a four-year felony and the firearms charge carries an additional two year sentence.

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