Four Muskegon Co. deputies face trial in inmate death case

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — AG Nessel announced today that a judge’s ruling will send four Muskegon County deputies to trial, in relation to a man’s death in 2019.

Paul Bulthouse was arrested by Norton Shores Police Department on March 22, 2019, and was subsequently brought to the Muskegon County Jail on a probation detainer.

Bulthouse was classified as suicidal, meaning that officers were supposed to monitor the 39-year-old every 15 minutes.

According to a release from Nessel, Bulthouse’s cell was in close proximity to the jail booking center; always being visible on video monitors.

Approximately 13 days later, on April 4, Bulthouse died in custody after having many visible seizures in a five-and-a-half-hour period. 

Following a review of footage from the jail and additional records related to his death, the Department charged five individuals in April for neglect of duty in watching Bulthouse. 

Following a three-day preliminary exam period, Muskegon County 60th District Court Judge Geoffrey Nolan ruled late last night that there is enough evidence to bring four deputies over to Muskegon County Circuit Court for further proceedings.  

“The oath to protect and serve extends to those who are in police custody,” Nessel said. “We will continue our pursuit of justice for Mr. Bulthouse and his loved ones as this case moves to trial.” 

Each of the deputies faces one count of involuntary manslaughter – failure to perform a legal duty, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison:  

  • Sgt. David Vanderlaan  
  • Deputy Jeffrey Patterson  
  • Deputy Crystal Greve  
  • Deputy Jamal Lane  

Judge Nolan declined to bind Wellpath Registered Nurse, Aubrey Schotts, over for trial. 

The Department of Attorney General is still in the process of reviewing options for the dismissal of charges against Schotts. 

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