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Man arraigned in 1996 Kent Co. cold case of rape, murder of 29-year-old

Garry Dean Artman, 64, was arraigned Monday on charges of open murder, felony murder, and 1st-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Credit: Forrest County, Mississippi, Sheriff’s Office

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — A Florida man was charged with open murder, felony murder, and 1st-degree criminal sexual conduct in a Kent County court on Monday.

Garry Dean Artman, 64, was arrested in Mississippi on charges related to the rape and murder of 29-year-old Sharon Hammack in 1996.

Hammack's body was found by Kent County Sheriff's deputies on 76th Street SE, between Patterson Ave and Kraft Ave in Caledonia Township on October 3, 1996.

New advancements in forensic genetic genealogy led to the arrest of Artman.

On Monday, Artman was arraigned on the charges at the 63rd District Court.

"I miss you," said Joe Gross, Sharon's older brother. "She was a good sister to hang around with. We miss her."

Gross is just one of several siblings, family members and two children that Sharon left behind. He said they were all close growing up.

"We all did stuff together," he said. "We'd go camping together with my family, and with her kids and stuff. We had a good time hanging around her."

Artman has an extensive history of sexual assault crimes, and spent 11 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections for a charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree.

He was sent to prison in 1981, and then discharged on the maximum sentence in June of 1992, just four years before Sharon Hammack was murdered. 

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