Larry Darnell Gordon, 45 years old and now known in the media as the “Berrien County Courthouse shooter” was facing numerous kidnapping and sex crime charges when he attempted to break out of the Berrien County court house. His escape attempt which resulted in two dead court bailiffs, one injured deputy and another injured civilian, ended up with Gordon being shot to death by responding court officers after he attempted to take hostages. But what was Gordon trying to get away from?
According to his ex-wife, Jessica Gordon, he was a devoted father and an amazing man who must have been “completely terrified” and was just “trying to get home to see Cheyenne (his daughter).” While Jessica has gone on record to say that she believes her ex-husband is not guilty of many of the charges against him, official records reveal a different side of the story.
Michigan State Police records show that in April, Darnell was charged with armed first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree criminal sexual conduct during a felony, Felony kidnapping, Felony assault with a dangerous weapon and misdemeanor Aggravated domestic violence. In Michigan, both the CSC charges and the kidnapping charge could have resulted in life sentences. That may have been what Gordon was attempting to escape, but what is the story behind these charges.
The police version of events is this: Gordon was arrested in April at his home in Coloma, Michigan. Officers arrived at the house with a warrant for an alleged domestic violence incident, but saw a light on inside a shed on the property. The officers discovered that Gordon was inside the shed, but he refused to come out and barricaded himself inside.
After some time, Gordon tried to escape out through the back and was caught a few streets away by a police dog.
Officers then entered the shed and discovered a 17-year-old girl who had been held against her will for two weeks. Gordon had allegedly been giving her meth in exchange for sex and on occasion forcing her to have sex with him. She also claimed that Gordon assaulted her with weapons and strangled her. Police say he recorded many of these sexual encounters.
This instance raised questions about a similar incident that took place in 2006 in Berrien County, Michigan where a 16-year-old girl was held hostage and sexually assaulted. As a result of the investigation into the girl found trapped in the shed, Gordon was charged with a total of eighteen charges, sixteen of which were felonies. Additionally, he was being charged as a habitual offender due to his extensive criminal record. The charges are as follows:
- Five counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree,
- Three counts of production of child sexually abusive material,
- Two counts of assault by strangulation,
- Two counts of resisting and obstructing a police officer,
- One count of kidnapping,
- One count of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine,
- One count of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree,
- One count of unlawful imprisonment,
- One count of assault with a dangerous weapon,
- Single misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana, and malicious destruction of building.
These are extremely serious felony charges, and could easily have resulted in a lifetime in a Michigan prison had Gordon been convicted by a jury. Felony charges, whether they are for sex crimes, drug crimes or assault crimes, are severe and need to be handled by an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Kronzek Firm, our skilled criminal defense lawyers have decades of experience and can help you navigate through these difficult and stressful times. Our defense team has an excellent track record all over the lower peninsula of Michigan.