NOVI (WWJ) – A 28-year-old Walled Lake man was arraigned Thursday on a charge of open murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the death of his neighbor.

Charles Jacob Simkins — a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq — is accused of shooting 45-year-old Edwin Criswell in a dispute over a dog.

It happened Wednesday on the 1100-block of Sigma near Maple and Pontiac trail.

According to testimony in Novi District Court, Simkins had been looking for his dog when he was confronted by Criswell, who was upset that the dog was in his yard.  An argument broke out, and — armed with a loaded handgun  — Simkins allegedly punched his neighbor and then shot him.

Criswell was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Walled Lake Police Chief Paul Shakinas told WWJ’s Mike Campbell at the scene that neighbors have complained about the man’s dogs in the past. “We have had contact with the suspect recently, I can say that,” Shakinas said, declining to elaborate.

Simkins stood mute to the charges.

No bond was set and a plea of not guilty was entered.

Simkins will remain jailed pending a preliminary exam scheduled for Dec. 23.


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