Maxwell found competent to stand trial

Arraigned and bound over to circuit court


WEST BRANCH — Robert Maxwell is competent to stand trial according to a forensic evaluation, the results of which were read in 82nd District Court June 15.

Maxwell, 49, currently faces second-degree murder charges in the death of William Joseph Shanks, 58, in February. The competency exam was ordered during a probable cause conference in district court May 25.

At that time it was noted the evaluation could take around 90 days, but the results were given to the court just 21 days after they were ordered.

Maxwell was arraigned in circuit court June 15 by Judge Richard Noble, during which he stood mute, entering a plea of not guilty. Maxwell waived his right to a preliminary exam.

The case has now been bound over to circuit court, where a pretrial is scheduled for July 12 at 9 a.m.

On Feb. 4, police responded to a standoff situation at the Super 8 in West Branch after an anonymous tip alleged Maxwell had been bragging the night before about committing murder.

Police made contact with Maxwell after arriving on the scene, but when he stopped responding, officers entered his room and found he had reportedly attempted to take his own life.

At the time of the standoff, deputies searched a residence in the 4700 block of Rifle River Trail, where they found Shanks’ body.

Shanks’ death was later ruled a homicide.

Maxwell is classified as a habitual offender, and if convicted, this would be his fourth offense. He is currently in Michigan Department of Corrections custody, and appeared in court by video conference from Genesee County.

Maxwell was released from prison July 29, 2016, after serving time for criminal sexual conduct in the third degree with a person between the ages of 13 and 15.


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