Landlord who allegedly kidnapped tenant sentenced
MIO — Bradley Pelton, 45, of Traverse City was sentenced to 6-40 years in prison Feb. 27 for allegedly holding one of his tenants at gunpoint in a cemetery.
Pelton pleaded guilty to assault with the intent to rob. He was originally charged with unlawful imprisonment, assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, all felonies that were dropped with his plea.
He has served 364 days of his sentence.
He was arrested Dec. 14, 2015, after he held a man at gunpoint.
According to reports, Pelton picked up a man who rented property from him, offering a ride to McDonald’s. Instead, he drove the man to the Mentor Township Cemetery.
Oscoda County Judge Kathryn Root said that the tenant wanted to visit his father’s grave when the two stopped at the cemetery.
While the tenant visited his father’s headstone, Pelton told the him to pray at the gravesite, and then brandished a pistol and pointed it at the man and said, “Where is my money?”
According to Root, the tenant was seen running by a member of the public. This person then took him to the sheriff department, Root said.
On Jan. 22, 2016, Pelton was offered a plea deal by the prosecutor and pleaded guilty to one count of assault with the intent to rob. The agreement would’ve dropped all the remaining felony charges. He signed the agreement Sept. 13, which would’ve carried a six-year minimum sentence.
Root revoked Pelton’s $350,000 bond Jan. 25, at the request of Prosecuting Attorney Cassandra Morse-Bills after he made contact with the victim.
Sentencing was orginally postponed for Pelton, who pleaded guilty to one count of assault with the intent to rob in 23rd Circuit Court Nov. 21.
According to court documents obtained by the Herald, Pelton made a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming misrepresentation by his counsel when he entered the plea. The documents allege Pelton did not meet the requirements for assault with intent to rob because he was only trying to reclaim his property.
His request to withdraw his plea was to be heard in 23rd Circuit Court Dec. 12. However, this was moved forward when Morse-Bills challenged the withdrawal request. The decision for the withdrawal request was moved to Jan. 9 and then to Jan. 13, along with Pelton’s sentencing. Court was again adjourned and moved forward to Jan. 19. On this date Root said she would need at least 30 days to deliberate the withdrawal plea and set a new sentencing date for Feb. 27 at 9 a.m.
At sentencing, Root noted Pelton’s service as a Marine and his post-traumatic stress disorder. However, she said the type of behavior he exhibited was unacceptable.
“Your actions were clearly unconscionable,” Root said.
Pelton said he had written a two-page apology letter, but had lost the letter when he changed attorneys. He had trouble summing it up.
“My apologies, I overreacted,” Pelton said.
Pelton would need to provide the court of appeals 42 days’ notice, if he chooses to appeal the case.