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“Sex party'' shooting near Rockford has accused gunman facing life in prison

The shooting happened Feb. 28 at Algoma Estates in Kent County's Algoma Township; the victim is still recovering from a shotgun blast to his abdomen.

ROCKFORD, Mich. — What started as a sex party involving three people ended in discord when one of the participants took a shotgun blast to the abdomen, leaving him near death.

It happened in Algoma Township north of Rockford last month, and now has the accused gunman facing charges that could put him in prison for life.

It is a sordid tale, to be sure. Drugs and alcohol reportedly played a role. And a baby boy was in the room when the shooting occurred; he was not injured.

Those disturbing details emerged from interviews, court documents and testimony at a preliminary hearing this week for 22-year-old Jared Shane Scholten.

He was arrested hours after the Feb. 28 shooting, which occurred at Algoma Estates, a manufactured home community near 13 Mile Road and Northland Drive NE.

The shooting victim, 30-year-old Anthony Michael White, was critically injured and is still recovering. He lived in Algoma Estates with a woman who was a witness to the shooting, according to testimony and court records.

Defense attorney Heath Lynch said Scholten acted in self-defense.

According to testimony, the three people involved were engaged in what was described as a “bisexual threesome.’’ It was arranged over social media and got underway on Saturday, Feb. 27 and continued into Sunday, Feb. 28.

At some point, there was a dispute, and Anthony White, armed with a 12-gauge shotgun, ordered Scholten to leave, according to testimony.  

The two men temporarily separated. Eventually, Scholten took control of the shotgun, which was on the floor, according to testimony and court records.

Scholten shot White in the abdomen “at a close distance’’ when White was in bed, according to testimony and court records.

The woman who was involved tried to call police after the shooting. “Scholten fought with her and took her cellphone,’’ a Kent County detective wrote in a probable cause affidavit. 

Scholten fled but was arrested later that day. He was jailed on a $500,000 bond.

Following testimony at Tuesday’s preliminary examination, 63rd District Court Judge Jeffrey O’Hara determined there was enough evidence to move the case to Kent County Circuit Court.

Charges against Scholten include assault with intent to murder, a felony punishable by up to life in prison. He's also charged with being a habitual felony offender for convictions in Ottawa and Kent counties.

“We heard from a single witness at the preliminary exam, and the defense believes that witness has serious credibility issues,’’ defense attorney Heath Lynch said. “Parts of her story simply do not add up.’’

“But one matter on which we agree is that Mr. White, not Jared, escalated the situation by brandishing a gun at Jared in the first place,’’ Lynch said. “There is a great deal left to be determined in this case, including whether Jared acted in self-defense." 

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department declined comment on the case.

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