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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  • by ben Location: mi on Sep 15, 2009 at 06:13 AM
    Freedom of beliefs,freedoms of speech.Don't see people going around killing KKK people or other hate groups allowed in the US.Killing is wrong,yet we go to wars killing many.We allow gangs to exist in many cities,as they fight against each other,and have killed.So many things we know the bible says is wrong,we continue to do?We still have many raciest all over.Look at the now morals of many in the US.We allow gay marriages.Many still don't believe in God or the bible.Or choose not to follow it's teachings.Facts are what they are and the fact is we will all find out in the end if we choose the right road to travel down.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 15, 2009 at 04:56 AM
    bev, There are some who do not believe in abortion, but do as you suggest in donating to education, adoption centers, pregnancy crisis centers assisting others in adoptions. We need to not focus on the horrific act of abortion, but on why do these young ladies need this option in the first place.
  • by Bev Location: Olivet on Sep 13, 2009 at 08:30 PM
    How many of you holy rollers have adopted or cared for an unwanted child? Please do something real for children instead of spewing mindless dogma.
  • by Mary Location: Mich on Sep 13, 2009 at 10:32 AM
    The facts are,thou shall NOT KILL.Where would we be if what the bible says was done on this earth as it was told to be?Why so many churches say it's ok now for this or that,going against bible teaching and Gods ideas.It gives the message the bible has changed in it's words.It hasn't.Never has or never will.God meant what he said and said what he meant.Many things have came true and will continue to come true.God can't or don't lie.We allow hate groups and so many things.Freedom of speech,freedom of beliefs.We have allowed the bibles words to be twisted.So many have no clue to this or that.One fact remains.On Judgment Day we will know.Many will not like where they end up.Sad but the pictures were real.Facts are easier to not see.Leading us to think wrong things are alright.The truth can set one free,but only if he seeks the truth.Running from the truth does nothing.Running from Gods words,helps evil rule this earth.But not forever.
  • by Sparty4ever Location: Lansing on Sep 12, 2009 at 10:53 AM
    Has Obama issued a statement yet? Something similar to the statement he issued after Tiller was shot? Hopefully our peanut tossers will grace us with a condemnation soon...
  • by Michael Location: Eureka, CA on Sep 12, 2009 at 09:20 AM
    Your headline is BS. I am sorry this nut got killed, its not the way I want to see things happen. It appears this guy was planning on killing several people, was it all for their "beliefs"? PS - people that use these signs are disgusting.
  • by Derek Location: Olivet on Sep 11, 2009 at 08:27 PM
    Isn't protesting abortion protected by the first amendment? Regardless of the victim's opinion on abortion, or his manner of protesting, should we not be appalled by the horrendous act of murder? I only wish that the victims' families find peace in this storm. As for those of you who disagreed with Mr. Pouillon, maybe you should have counter-protested. But then, what would be the point? You'd still be wrong. ...and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14) MY prayers are with their families. May God have mercy.
  • by JT Location: Former Owosso resident on Sep 11, 2009 at 08:26 PM
    There is no evidence that Pouillon was killed for his beliefs. He went out of his way to display horribly offensive and sick signs to children. I was often offended by his actions. There is no way he should have been murdered, but please get it right, WILX. There is no defensible reason for murder, especially just because one gets offended. I know it stirs up the audience and "drives eyeballs", but don't forget about Fuoss. By courting controversy with your headline, you minimize the other senseless murder and denigrate the victim.
  • by ro Location: owosso on Sep 11, 2009 at 06:12 PM
    Yes as a matter of fact he did show very graphic pictures of dead fetuses at schools and was across the street from the high school at the time of the shooting. He has also been there for a couple of days. So yes, the individual killed was vehemently pro life.
  • by a84c72 Location: 48906 on Sep 11, 2009 at 03:57 PM
    I read in another article that the suspect WAS offended by the victim's signs, etc. I don't agree that he should've been MURDERED at all, but the guy was more than just someone who decided to go out with signs one day. He was out EVERYDAY and literally for YEARS. I lived in the area in the early-late 90s and he was ALWAYS out when I was in town...a little, um...not wrapped too tightly, so to speak. Have your beliefs, but come on. I would be LIVID if this lunatic showed up at my daughter's school with paraphernalia like his.
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