Alcohol-addled Sparta man charged in beating death of his 85-year old grandmother

Sparta grandmother murder

SPARTA, MICH. - A Sparta man accused of fatally beating his elderly grandmother had been drinking heavily and became upset when the woman’s medical alert device went off the morning of Aug. 7, according to court records.

When help arrived, Matthew Nelson Malleaux threw a large concrete lawn statue at a Rockford Ambulance paramedic, striking him in the head, court records show. He then barricaded himself inside the Clark Street home he shared with his 85-year-old grandmother, Anne Malleaux Parker.

Police forced their way inside and subdued Malleaux, 23, after a violent confrontation as his grandmother remained injured on the kitchen floor, court records show.

The grandmother of 10 died the following day; her injuries included a collapsed lung, dislocated shoulder, fractured left cheekbone, fractured left orbital bone, an injury to the back of her head and bruising to her spleen and kidney.

Parker's grandson is in the Kent County Jail, charged with open murder for the woman’s death. He’s also charged with felonious assault and resisting police for the brutal confrontation with first responders on Aug. 7.

Sparta officers were assisted by Michigan State Police in the investigation. F/Lt. Christopher McIntire called the slaying “troubling.’’

“One of the most troubling homicides I’ve seen,’’ he said. “When it’s family on family, it’s always troubling.’’

Sparta Police Chief Andrew Milanowski agreed. “It is a safe community; this doesn’t happen every day.’’

One of the victim’s grandchildren, Shelby Schut, described Parker as a woman who showed unconditional love for her family.

“For example, my cousin Matthew (who obviously had issues), was on his last legs, but my grandma gave him a place to stay out of the goodness of her heart,’’ Shelby Schut said in statement. “She just wanted to be there for her kids and grandkids as much as she possibly could.’’

Milanowski said the homicide is an aberration for the otherwise peaceful bedroom community of 4,300 people.

“Our last murder was in 2004; it’s not something you would expect here,’’ Milanowski said.

In that case, 23-year-old Julia Dawson was killed by her husband and her body dumped in Montcalm County. Timothy Dawson is serving life in prison for the Dec. 11, 2004 murder.

It is believed that Malleaux, who had been living in the Traverse City area, moved back to Sparta about six to eight months ago, Milanowski said. The chief said there had been no calls to the house prior to Aug. 7.

Sparta police were called to Parker’s home on Clark Street north of 12 Mile Road NW about 5 a.m. for what appeared to be a request for medical help.

Once on scene, Sparta police officer Mark Wawrzyniak encountered a violent male, later identified as Matthew Malleaux, who swore at police and medical responders. He “told them to leave and threw a large cement object at Jeff Cook, striking him in the head,’’ according to a probable cause affidavit.

Malleaux barricaded himself inside the home as additional help arrived. Sparta officers saw what appeared to be an unconscious woman on the floor. Police forced their way inside “and several officers had to physically subdue Matthew and use a Taser on him to get him to comply with their commands,’’ according to the probable cause affidavit.

“There was a pretty big fight that he put up; it took several officers to control him and finally get him into handcuffs,’’ McIntire said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference at the Sparta Police Department.  “He was in quite a fit of rage.’’

Malleaux told officers he and his grandmother were the only two people in the house at the time “and that he had been drinking heavily, had taken Ecstasy two days prior, was upset over the CareLink alarm going off, had confronted his grandmother and the two of them argued,’’ court records show.

“Matthew stated that the argument turned into a physical fight and he grabbed Anne (by) the shoulders and violently shook her and head-butted her face with his face/head,’’ Michigan State Police Sgt. Denise Bentley wrote in a probable cause affidavit. “Matthew said this occurred in Anne’s bedroom and the fight continued into the living room area where he said Anne may have tripped and fallen on the stairs.’’

Parker was taken to Spectrum Health, where she was treated for multiple injuries. Her daughter indicated that doctors had to remove Parker’s spleen, court records show. She died about 7 p.m. on Aug. 8. An autopsy indicated the cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma.

Malleaux, who has a clean criminal record in Kent County, is being held without bond on the open murder charge and a $500,000 bond on the assault and resisting charges. His next court appearance is set for next week.

Malleaux has a history of alcohol violations dating back to 2008, including two injury accidents in northern Michigan in which alcohol was a factor, according to Michigan Secretary of State records.

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