by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, was arraigned in 66th District Court on Monday, Dec. 30 for the murder of Kevin Bacon, 25, of Swartz Creek. Bacon was last seen around 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 24, and was found deceased early Saturday morning, Dec. 28, at Latunski’s residence, 703 W. Tyrrell Rd. in Bennington Township, which is located between Gale and Morrice roads. Bacon was reported missing by his family when he failed to show up for breakfast on Christmas morning. His vehicle was later found in Clayton Township.
Latunski has been charged with one felony count of open murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison with no parole, and one felony count of mutilating a dead body, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
During Monday’s arraignment, when asked by the Honorable Ward L. Clarkston to confirm his identity, Latunski refused, instead answering that he was actually Latunski’s uncle, “Edgar Thomas Hill.” Undeterred, Judge Clarkston proceeded by responding, “Well, we’re going to read you a complaint.”
After entering a plea of “not guilty” on the defendant’s behalf, Judge Clarkston announced that Latunski’s preliminary conference will take place at 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8, followed by a preliminary exam at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
Douglas Corwin, representing the Shiawassee County Public Defender’s Office, spoke on behalf of the defendant and confirmed that his office would be providing Latunski with a public defender. Judge Clarkston concurred with the recommendation of the Shiawassee County Prosecutor’s Office in denying Latunski bond due to “the heinous nature of the crime.” The defendant will continue to be housed in the Shiawassee County Jail.
In a statement issued earlier in the day on Monday, Dec. 30, Shiawassee County Prosecuting Attorney Deanna Finnegan shared that the case was investigated by the Michigan State Police, led by Detective Sergeant James Moore. She also explained that the investigation, stemming from a missing-persons report, led to the discovery of Bacon’s remains.
Latunski was born March 28, 1969, and according to a social media account, he graduated from Central Michigan University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and from Iowa State University in 1995 with a master’s degree in physical organic chemistry. The online profile also notes that, following graduation, the defendant was employed with Flint Group from 1995 to 2007, and with American Chemical Technologies, Inc. from 2007 to February 2019.
In late November, the Michigan State Police responded to the same section of Tyrrell Road, where they found Latunski in pursuit of a 29-year-old man wearing only a $300 leather kilt. After being questioned by the officers, the younger man returned the kilt to Latunski and the two men were released without being charged.
In September 2013, Latunski was arraigned in 66th District Court for felony kidnapping. After pleading not guilty, Latunski underwent a forensic evaluation and was eventually found not competent to stand trial. His case was dismissed without prejudice by Judge Terrance Dignan on Feb. 10, 2015.