(WXYZ) — A judge in Southeast Michigan is under heavy scrutiny after releasing a defendant facing a murder charge on a tether, and the results being tragic.
Accused killer Orlando Whitfield was set free on a tether one year ago to the dismay of a victim’s family. Now, they’ve learned he’s been arrested again after a sinister double murder.
“He’s a dangerous criminal with a violent past,” said Amanda Edmunds, the victim's sister.
At 32 years old, Whitfield, an Ypsilanti Township resident, is described by Washtenaw County prosecutors as a "danger to the public."
He faces murder, robbery and gun charges in the Ypsilanti shooting death of 25-year-old Marissa Edmunds back in January 2018.
Marissa's sister Amanda says in May of 2020, she was stunned to learn judge Carol Kuhnke in Washtenaw County released Whitfield on a tether monitor, citing his right to a speedy trial despite his history of sexual assault and running from police.
Kuhnke wasn't available for comment at her office and dodged questions surrounding her decision at her home.
“She acts like because she’s a judge, she doesn’t have to say anything. I want an explanation,” Amanda said.
It was Monday night when Amanda's worst fears were realized. The cold-blooded killing of a Detroit couple engaged to be married. On social media, loved ones paid tribute publicly to 31-year-old DeAndre Fizer and 27-year-old Tonia Carter. There were found bound and gagged, then shot to death while their 6-month-old baby was in the home.
“It broke my heart. It was like having my sister killed all over again,” Amanda said.
We've since learned that Whitfield is back under arrest in connection to the double killing on Monday. His attorney previously told 7 Action News he's maintained his innocence in his prior case.
Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office also declined comment, citing that the case is pending. Detroit police say their investigation into the double homicide is ongoing.