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Jury Finds Big Rapids Man Guilty of 2022 Murder

LANSING – Today, following a four-day trial, a Mecosta County jury found Daykota Handrich, 25, of Big Rapids, guilty of first degree murder, a mandatory life-sentence offense, in the 2022 murder of Ashley Godfrey, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Handrich was charged with one count of open murder in June of 2022 by Mecosta County Prosecutor John Peterson, before the case was transferred to the Department of Attorney General this spring for prosecution at trial.

Handrich strangled and beat to death Godfrey, then 36, and also of Big Rapids, in the city of Big Rapids on May 31, 2022. Godfrey’s body was discovered by officers patrolling the White Pine Trail on June 3rd, 2022. The jury deliberated for less than five hours before announcing the verdict shortly after 7:00pm.

“I would like to thank the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, the Michigan State Police, and the Mecosta County Prosecutor’s Office for their diligent investigative efforts and support during this prosecution,” said Nessel. “I am grateful we were able to secure justice for the family and community mourning Ashley’s death. My Department remains committed to assisting local prosecutors when we can with resource and time intensive prosecutions and trials.”

“I am so proud of the diligent work of our officers, and the incredible team work between all agencies,” added Chief Danielle Haynes of the Big Rapids Police Department.

Handrich will face sentencing before the Honorable Kimberly Booher of the 49th Circuit Court in Mecosta County. He will be sentenced to life without parole as mandated by law.  The sentencing date has not yet been set.


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