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Son who killed father not entitled to any share of father's estate

The court affirmed the probate court order granting the appellee-PR's (petitioner) petition for revocation of benefits under Michigan's slayer statute. Based on the statutory provisions, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that an evidentiary hearing was not warranted, all of the relevant facts having been established by the circuit and probate court proceedings. The 54-year-old decedent, who was respondent's father, died on 8/10/12, from multiple blunt-force injuries to the head. Petitioner, the decedent's brother, was granted Letters of Authority. Decedent's heirs were his children. On 9/3/13, petitioner filed a petition for forfeiture and revocation of benefits, noting that respondent had been charged with open murder and pleaded guilty but mentally ill to second-degree murder on 8/6/13, in connection with his father's death. Given that statutes must be construed together to form a harmonious whole, and considering its broad interpretation of the statute in Cook, the court held that when paragraph (5) in the applicable statute is considered in conjunction with the phrase "feloniously and intentionally kill" in paragraph (1), "the legislation was clearly intended to apply broadly and incorporate second-degree murder. Because MCL 700.2803 incorporates second-degree murder, respondent's conviction of that offense conclusively established that he was the decedent's killer for purposes of MCL 700.2803(1) and the probate court properly granted petitioner's petition for forfeiture and revocation." Further, "based on respondent's account of the crime in his plea, notwithstanding his conviction, the probate court could have concluded by a preponderance of the evidence that respondent feloniously and intentionally killed his father." By his own admission, he struck the decedent with a baseball bat, rendering him incapable of defending himself, and then continued beating him until he died. The preponderance of the evidence supported that his actions evinced intent to kill. The "catch all" provision in MCL 700.2803(5), which provides that "a killer or felon cannot profit from his or her wrongdoing," further supported the probate court's decision. A person who "bludgeons another to death" by repeatedly hitting him "with a baseball bat cannot profit from such conduct."


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