Skelton hearing quickly adjourned 2011.02.16

Written by David Green.

skelton.2.16By DAVID GREEN

John Skelton was back in circuit court last week, but only for a couple of minutes before the session was adjourned.

Skelton, 39, of Morenci, was ordered to appear in Lenawee County Circuit Court Feb. 9 for a hearing in connection with three counts of parental kidnapping after his three sons disappeared on Thanksgiving.

Skelton claims that Andrew, 9, Alexander, 7, and Tanner, 5, are with an organization that he refuses to name.

Although Skelton appeared in court Jan. 28 regarding a custody charge, this was his first appearance in the criminal kidnapping case. He waived a preliminary examination on Dec. 26 and filed a waiver of arraignment in January.

An adjournment was requested last Wednesday morning by Skelton’s public defender, John Glaser, and Lenawee County Prosecutor Jonathan Poer agreed with the request. No reason for delay was given.

Skelton was ordered back in court Feb. 23. A trial date might be set at that time or another adjournment could be requested.


Skelton is to return to circuit court March 18 as he continues to face contempt of court charges for failing to return his boys to their mother, Tanya, as specified in a visitation agreement. The couple is seeking a divorce.

In court Jan. 28, Judge Margaret Noe noted that she signed an order in late November to give Tanya Skelton exclusive parenting time.

“I would ask at this time, Mr. Skelton, if you are prepared to turn the children over to their mother pursuant to my order of Nov. 29,” she said.

After a brief conversation with his attorney, Skelton said, “I can’t.”

Judge Noe said the custody case is further complicated by the criminal kidnapping proceeding. She announced that she will suspend and postpone further action in the contempt case while the criminal matter is monitored.

Glaser stated that he didn’t realize he was to represent Skelton in the divorce issue and he preferred to represent him only in the contempt case.

After that, the judge asked questions directly to Skelton. Skelton said that he and his wife already split the property.

Addressing Tanya Skelton’s attorney, David McFarland, the judge asked, “Do you agree that all personal property and real estate is resolved and not an issue?”

It’s still an issue that needs to be resolved at a later date, McFarland answered.

A review and pretrial hearing was scheduled at 8:15 a.m. March 18 to continue to monitor progress on the criminal matter and its effect, if any, on the civil proceeding. Skelton will then represent himself without an attorney.

Skelton questioned details of the form he was asked to sign, stating that he did not want to pay his wife’s legal fees and alimony.

“Mr. McFarland, is your client asking for spousal support?” the judge asked.

“Your honor, there are more important issues to discuss at this trial,” he answered.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016