Prosecutor: Anti-Abortion Activist Killed For Beliefs

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

He was known for his outspoken anti-abortion protests all around Owosso.

"When I went into town, you'd often see him on his corner," says friend Ron Ackals.

And as he was picketing Friday morning outside Owosso High School, prosecutors say 63-year-old James Pouillon was gunned down-- shot up to 10 times-- by a drive-by shooter targeting the man for his message.

When 33-year-old suspect Harlan Drake was apprehended at his home, police learned more.

"Upon his arrest, he made statements he'd been involved in another homicide that day," says Owosso Police Chief Michael Compeau.

That led them to another crime scene: a gravel pit owned by 61-year-old Mike Fuoss, who was found shot to death in his Owosso Township office by an employee.

Shiawassee County Sheriff George Braidwood, a good friend of Fuoss', chokes up describing his reaction.

"Shock first, then comfort knowing we have good officers and detectives to make sure it's justified," Braidwood says.

Pouillon's close friend Mike McCloskey is distraught.

"Just because someone has different opinions shouldn't result in someone shooting someone else," says McCloskey.

McCloskey says Pouillon is a retired GM worker who has at least one daughter, and his ex-wife was killed in a car accident. Others say Pouillon had been protesting abortion for decades.

According to friends, Fuoss has two gravel pit companies in the area.

As word spreads about the tragedies that happened outside the high school and at the gravel pit, friends of both victims wonder how-- if at all-- the two murders were connected.

"Right now we don't know," Braidwood says. "The two victims might not have been connected at all."

Police do say Drake knew Fuoss but don't know if he knew Pouillon personally.

"It's hard. I'm sorry for my friend who this happened to, and I'm also sorry for the people dealing with this in this little, quiet town," McCloskey says.

Police say when they apprehended Drake at his home, he said he was planning to also kill Owosso realtor James Howe. Howe is, to our knowledge, okay.

Drake has been charged with two counts of 1st degree premeditated murder, one felony firearm count and one count of carrying a weapon with unlawful intent.


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