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MUNISING – Both Alger County Prosecuting Attorney Karen A. Bahrman and Derek Swajanen, attorney for defendant DeShawn Madden, have finished their closing statements in the murder trial in Alger County Circuit Court.

The Alger Correctional Facility inmate is accused of killing his cellmate in July, 2017 and may hear a verdict in the case this afternoon.

He is facing First Degree Homicide and Habitual Offender charges in the July 20 death of 23-year-old Rodriguez Montez Burks.

Prison officials say Burks was killed inside the cell the two men shared. 

Madden was sentenced March 23, 2015 to 16 to 30 years on three counts from August, 2014 in Wayne County:

  1. Car Jacking 
  2. Assault with Intent to Commit Murder
  3. Armed Robbery 

Burks was sentenced in November, 2016 to 2-10 years in prison on the following charges in Livingston County:

  • Offense: Police Officer – Fleeing – Third Degree – Vehicle Code
  • Offense: Stolen Property – Receiving and Concealing – Motor Vehicle 


ALGER CO. – Defendant DeShawn Madden kept a blank expression as the homicide case against him continued in a mostly empty courtroom.

The prosecution continued presenting witnesses and evidence to the court. Detective Sergeant Jeremy Hauswirth took the stand, presenting an audio conversation he had with Madden during an interrogation sometime after Burks’ death.

Madden, speaking of cell change request, said, “The only thing that was into me like this, I told him, ‘Can I get out of this cell? I wanna get out of this cell.’ Believe me what I said. I said that when I first rolled in.”

Hauswirth said, “Uh huh.”

“I don’t deal with homophobics,” said Madden. “I told them, ‘Get me out of that box or else there’s gonna be a bloodspill.’ She said, ‘Oh, okay, okay. Alright.’ I talked to dawg, ‘Listen, man. There ain’t nothin’ they gonna do about it, for real.’ Nah, nah, nah. I ain’t goin’ nowhere. Alright, well get me up out of here. Tell ’em we’ve got a problem here. I did, but they not gonna move me. Alright. He touched my TV, that was the end.”

Rodriguez Burks’ autopsy results were presented to the jury Thursday afternoon. According to the autopsy report, Burks’ cause of death was a closed head injury and the manner was homicide.

Karen Bahrman, Prosectuing Attorney asked, “How would you describe the level of force needed to cause these injuries?”

“I’d say a lot,” said Dr. Martin Matthews, Pathologist. “I mean, this is not like somebody punching a little bit. This is a serious impact, a real slam to the head.”

Defense Attorney Derek Swajanen has yet to call a witness for the defense. With a verdict expected by the end of the week, closing arguments could be made as soon as Friday.