Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 18, 2013

State in Brief: 01/18/2013


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Suspect dead, woman safe after abduction

MOUNT PLEASANT — A parolee abducted and raped a Central Michigan University student, set a house on fire where the woman had fled for help and was fatally shot miles away by a sheriff's deputy, authorities said Thursday.

Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski said the man was identified as Eric Ramsey, 30, of Mount Pleasant.

"We don't know what possessed him to do that. We may never find out," Mioduszewski said.

The woman was abducted from campus in her own vehicle Wednesday night and taken to a home off campus where she was bound and raped. The sheriff said Ramsey then put her back in the Ford Escape and pledged to kill her, but she escaped from the moving vehicle and ran to a home yelling for help.

While the woman was inside talking to an emergency dispatcher on the phone, Ramsey "ended up pouring gasoline on the house and then lit it on fire," Mioduszewski said in a statement.

Early Thursday morning, Ramsey was spotted in Otsego County, where he rammed the first of two state police cars. The sheriff said he subsequently stole a truck and was fatally shot by a deputy in Crawford County, 85 miles north of the university.

Ramsey has been on parole since last summer after serving the minimum five-year prison sentence for assault with intent to do great bodily harm, according to Corrections Department online records. The maximum sentence was 15 years. Inmates are eligible for a parole review once they serve the minimum punishment.

Unions look ahead on right-to-work fight

LANSING — Union leaders looking for an olive branch from Gov. Rick Snyder in his third State of the State address say he left them empty-handed, but they vow to keep fighting to bring down right-to-work legislation enacted last month.

"We're going to lobby every time we feel it's necessary," said Mike Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 652. "Not just the UAW, this is working people."

Labor groups have already joined together with faith and community groups "who are equally upset about the damaging policies of the Snyder administration," said Sara Wallenfang, a spokeswoman for Michigan's American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

Snyder has come under fire for his efforts to swiftly pass the law, which prohibits requirements that workers pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, in the lame-duck session without holding public hearings. He has called the action pro-worker and argues it will create jobs in the state, but also has previously described it as divisive and repeatedly stressed it wasn't on his agenda.