Traverse City Record-Eagle

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February 5, 2014

Snow shovel attack leads to felony charge

TRAVERSE CITY — A snow shovel can be a dangerous weapon in winter.

And Charles William Colpean, 50, of Traverse City, isn’t behind bars because he wielded a shovel against snow drifts. He’s accused of smacking another man in the face with a shovel during a Jan. 29 confrontation and faces a felony charge of assault with a dangerous weapon in 86th District Court.

The charge is punished by up to four years imprisonment.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney said many objects can count as a “dangerous weapon,” depending on how they’re used.

“It’s not a fist, but some type of instrument that’s either designed or fashioned as a weapon or used as a weapon,” he said.

The police report states the victim, a Traverse City man, 44, confronted Colpean in an alley outside Central United Methodist Church on Cass Street and accused him of assaulting a friend that week. Witnesses said Colpean, who was carrying the shovel back to the church, stepped back and struck the other man in the face with the shovel.

“(The victim) then fell to the ground, where he was hit multiple times by Colpean, both with the shovel and with Colpean’s fists,” court documents state.

A Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputy arrived and found the shovel and blood droplets on the ground outside the church, according to the police report. Colpean told the deputy before his arrest that he only hit the victim once with the shovel after being shoved.

The victim was treated at Munson Medical Center for a large laceration on his chin, the police report states.

The case isn’t the only recent incident that led to a dangerous weapon assault charge.

In October, Rodney Butler Ney, 27, of Traverse City, was accused of repeatedly jamming a blue and yellow “algae brush” into his girlfriend’s mouth and causing serious injuries. Ney eventually pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and attempted assault by strangulation. On Friday, 13th Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power sentenced Ney to 1 to 5 years in prison.

Colpean remains in Grand Traverse County’s jail on a $50,000 cash or surety bond. A preliminary examination is scheduled for Feb. 14 in 86th District Court.

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