Witnesses testify in Bay City murder case - WNEM TV 5

Witnesses testify in Bay City murder case

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Witnesses are expected to take the stand Friday in a high-profile murder case in Bay County.

Opening arguments were heard Thursday.

Prosecutors say Stephen Ashley Jr. shot and killed Lonnie Houston in 2011.

Ashley Jr. has been jailed since police arrested him on November 16, 2011, charging him with killing the father of five.

Ashley is also accused of torching Houston's body inside a car along the Saginaw River in Zilwaukee Township. Houston's badly burned body was found in the back seat of a Cadillac along the banks of the Saginaw River. 

An autopsy showed Houston had been shot twice in the head before being dumped in the Cadillac's back seat.

The flames were so intense crews were forced to use a "fire fighting foam" to put it out.

Originally the case was handled by the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department, but the case was transferred to the Bay County Sheriff's Department when it was discovered Houston had been shot and killed in Bay County's Hampton Township.

Houston had a criminal record and served time in prison for assault with intend to do great bodily harm, less than murder, and for possessing marijuana. He was released from prison in 2010.

A Houston family member said of Lonnie, "He was a good person, he was a great father of five who loved his family, his collection of tennis shoes and his prized possession, his 1977 Monte Carlo. Lonnie loved to laugh and smile. He will be missed by many and loved by all."

If convicted, Ashley will spend the rest of his life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

Two other men charged in the shooting death are Kaleb Rosin and Brett Vaughn.  Rosin and Vaughn are scheduled to face trial February 12.

The prosecution expects Rosin and Vaughn will testify on their behalf during Ashley's trial.

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