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Muskegon County Deputies to Face Trial in Inmate Death

LANSING - A judge ruled there's enough evidence to send four Muskegon County deputies to trial related to the death of Paul Bulthouse, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.

Bulthouse, 39, was arrested by the Norton Shores Police Department on March 22, 2019, and brought to the Muskegon County Jail on a probation detainer.  He was classified as suicidal, which required he be monitored by officers every 15 minutes. Bulthouse's cell was always in close proximity to the county jail booking center and he was always visible on video monitors.  Thirteen days later, on April 4, Bulthouse died in custody after suffering many visible seizures in a five-and-a-half hour period.

Following extensive review of video from the jail and other records related to his death, the Department charged five individuals in April for their willful neglect of duty in caring for Bulthouse.

After a preliminary exam that lasted three days, Muskegon County 60th District Court Judge Geoffrey Nolan ruled late Thursday night that there is enough evidence to bind over the four deputies to Muskegon County Circuit Court for further proceedings.

The four deputies each face one count of involuntary manslaughter - failure to perform a legal duty, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison:  

  • Sgt. David Vanderlaan  
  • Deputy Jeffrey Patterson  
  • Deputy Crystal Greve  
  • Deputy Jamal Lane  

"The oath to protect and serve extends to those who are in police custody," Nessel said. "We will continue our pursuit of justice for Mr. Bulthouse and his loved ones as this case moves to trial."

Judge Nolan declined to bind Wellpath Registered Nurse, Aubrey Schotts, over for trial.  The Department of Attorney General is reviewing options regarding the dismissal of charges against Schotts.


Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Department does not provide booking photos.