TRAVERSE CITY — Three suspects accused of stabbing and hacking an Indiana man with a machete on Northwestern Michigan College’s campus face potential life sentences after an unsuccessful drug theft attempt.
Jorge-Antonio Lopez Alvarado, 21, and Tony Fabio Orozco, 18, on Monday appeared in 86th District Court by video for arraignment on felony attempted murder and armed robbery charges.
A third suspect, Jorge Alberto Vasquez-Antonio, 15, was arraigned Friday afternoon as an adult on identical charges stemming from the Jan. 31 attack on Dwight Johnathan Thompson, 35, of Indianapolis, Ind., who himself faces drug possession charges.
Traverse City Police Capt. Mike Ayling said detectives believe Thompson regularly traveled from Indianapolis to sell drugs, specifically heroin, in the Traverse City area. He said the suspects set up a fake drug buy with a local heroin addict in order to ambush Thompson.
“They jumped him to steal drugs to sell it to get money,” Ayling said.
Court documents state the three attackers “appeared to be acting in concert” as they confronted Thompson near an NMC apartment building. Thompson suffered stab wounds to his back and a 3- to 4-inch cut across his forehead from a machete, the documents state.
Thompson managed to escape his attackers, but couldn’t identify them before being transported to Munson Medical Center. A police officer found marijuana and four plastic bags containing 5.5 grams of cocaine in Thompson’s coat pocket, according to court documents, and he was arrested upon his release from the hospital.
A court document details a witness’ account that three men with bloodied weapons entered a Shadowland Motel room the night of the attack. A guest at the motel room told the witness after the men left that “those three guys killed someone tonight and were in here washing the blood off the knives and machete they used,” court documents state.
A witness also reported three suspects attacked and robbed him on Jan. 30 with one holding a knife to his throat while the other two took personal items from his room.
Ayling said detectives are interviewing two women — including the one who set up the fake drug buy — in connection to the case and they could also be charged. He said two NMC students in the apartment building also are being interviewed.
Alvarado and Orozco remain in Grand Traverse County’s jail on $500,000 cash or surety bonds. All three suspects are scheduled for a preliminary examination in 86th District Court on Feb. 21. Their charges carry potential life sentences.