October 18, 2012
– Attorney General Bill Schuette, Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz and the Michigan State Police today announced that the Attorney General’s Criminal Division has charged a Niles man with First Degree Murder for the 2010 killings of John and Carolyn Tarwacki, of Niles, Michigan. The charges follow a two and a half year investigation by the Michigan State Police in cooperation with the Niles Police Department, the Cass County Sheriff’s office, the Berrien County Sherriff’s office, the Cass County Prosecutor’s office and the Michigan Attorney General’s office. The investigation was led by Michigan State Police Niles Post Detective Fabian Suarez and Trooper Investigator Jason Bailey.
Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz advised “The MSP and local law enforcement have been relentless in their efforts to solve these terrible crimes. Southwest Michigan is grateful to Bill Schuette for his critical assistance and leadership in this matter. My office looks forward to working with the Attorney General and area law enforcement to bring this prosecution to a fitting conclusion.”
“This is a tragic case, and we are ready to secure justice and closure for the family and friends of John and Carolyn Tarwacki,” said Schuette. “The Michigan State Police and their law enforcement partners have worked exhaustively for over two years in this investigation. They have done an excellent job. In particular, Detective Fabian Suarez and Trooper Jason Bailey need to be recognized. “It is a privilege to work side-by-side with Vic Fitz to safeguard the citizens of Cass County. Vic is a first rate prosecutor and understands the public safety equation of more cops plus tough laws equals greater safety for Michigan families and fewer tragedies like this heartbreaking murder case.”
Keith James Lintz, 28, of Niles, has been charged with two counts of First Degree Murder for the killing of John and Carolyn Tarwacki in their Niles, Michigan home on February 5, 2010 and one count of Possessing a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony, a two year felony. The charges of First Degree Murder carry a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. It is alleged Lintz murdered the couple through a brutal attack which included beatings, multiple stabbings, and gunshot wounds.
Police at the scene found little evidence that could be used to identify possible suspects in what appeared to be a random act of violence against a recently married, law-abiding couple. The Michigan State Police launched an investigation and worked with Niles City Police officers, Cass County Sheriff’s deputies, Berrien County Sheriff’s deputies, and Michigan Attorney General special investigators in an attempt to bring the Tarwackis’ killer to justice. Throughout the course of the investigation, nearly 800 tips were received and over 300 witnesses were interviewed.
Fitz expressed appreciation regarding “The cooperative efforts of all law enforcement, particularly the Michigan State Police, Niles Post, for their fine work on this investigation.”
Lintz was taken into custody on October 17, 2012 by Michigan State Police troopers and has been arraigned in Cass County’s 4th District Court.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.