WAYNE (WWJ) – An alleged ax murderer has been formally charged in the city of Wayne.

Jesse Gunderson, 26, made a brief appearance in 29th District Court Tuesday morning for an arraignment on a charge of first degree murder in this death of his step-grandfather.

The Wayne resident told the judge he didn’t understand the charges but understands that he’ll remain in jail.

Police said 58-year old Danny Dart — killed last Saturday evening outside his home in the 4500-block of Chamberlain Street in Wayne, west of Detroit — had been struck in the head by an ax.

Gunderson’s uncle, Robert Porter, said the family still doesn’t know what happened.

“Only he knows, only he knows,” Porter told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Mike Campbell. “So, we hope and pray and our advice to him is: Tell all. Let everybody know why and what. Let us all have peace and closure.”

“Our advice to him is going to be: Open your heart. Your best defense is going to be to be truthful, and stand up for what you’ve done,” Porter said. “But we all support him, too. We’re a Christian loving family and we understand the pain from people we’ve lost, too.”

Some believe Gunderson may try to use a temporary insanity defense because he told his mother he doesn’t remember killing Dart, a retired autoworker.

Prosecutors said Gunderson had been living in Dart’s home for several weeks.

Gunderson faces life in prison if convicted. He was remanded to jail without bond pending a probable cause hearing set for Oct. 6.


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