Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

November 26, 2013

Suspect appears in court

TRAVERSE CITY — A Traverse City man suspected in his girlfriend’s shooting death was interviewed by police for nearly six hours as authorities continue to marshal a case against him.

Robert Lee-Allen Caldwell, 33, said he accidentally shot Monica June Anderson, 33, during a failed suicide attempt on Nov. 19.

Traverse City Police Capt. Mike Ayling said Caldwell stuck with this story during the lengthy interview Friday, but his rendition changed slightly.

“His story is still possibly accurate, but after Friday, there’s maybe some questions raised,” Ayling said.

Caldwell on Monday appeared in 86th District Court via video for arraignment on an unrelated probation violation charge connected with an August drunken driving arrest in Leelanau County. His guilty plea and subsequent 93-day sentence, with time served, gives Grand Traverse County Bob Cooney more time to determine whether to file charges in the shooting.

“I’m trying to stay on top of all the facts as they come in,” Cooney said.

Ayling said the guilty plea also gives investigators more time to find out exactly what happened the night officers were called to the couple’s apartment at Three Mile Road and Aero Park Drive.

Anderson was dead at the scene and Caldwell was observed by police with a gun still in his hand.

“I would say now there doesn’t seem to be a big hurry, so (it) might take a little bit longer (to file charges),” Ayling said.

Ayling said the gun, a .45-caliber, was registered to Anderson and is currently in the possession of state police. Anderson was shot once. He said Caldwell was drinking the night of the shooting and alcohol played a role in the incident.

Caldwell accidentally shot himself in the hand when police arrived. He received surgery at Munson Medical Center before he was placed under arrest for the probation violation.

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