Second arrest made in Craigslist murder of Sterling Heights man

A second person has been arrested in connection to the death of a Sterling Heights man.

Michael Freeland, 58, was found dead in a house fire after police say he was assaulted and robbed by a woman he met online. Freeland thought he had found love after meeting Bria Corrine-Janelle Blackmon on Craigslist. 

Police are now saying that Blackmon had help from Demonte Easterling.

"He is a 19-year-old black male from Harper Woods who had personal relationship between him and initial suspect Bria," said  Lt. Dave Smith of Sterling Heights Police.

Easterling, currently on probation for another crime in Wayne County, was arraigned Thursday in court.

He was charged with first degree murder, felony murder, and armed robbery in the killing of Freeland.

Earlier this week Easterling's friend, the 20-year-old Blackmon, was also arraigned. She was charged with first degree murder, felony murder, armed robbery and illegal use of a credit card

Initially, it was believed Freeland died as a result of a house fire at his home, but police say Easterling and Blackmon savagely beat Freeland and left him to die.

"The injuries are what caused his death," Smith said. "He was laying injured inside the home as the fire took place."

Police say Blackmon used Freeland's credit card to buy electronic devices like iPads and then later admitted to tossing the weapon used to beat Freeland in Troy. 

"We learned that one of weapons used to bludgeon our victim was a dumbbell, which was discarded along I-75," Smith said.

And although police have arrested two people in this case, police are still investigating how the fire started at Freeland's house.

"We're still investigating part of it," Smith said. "We're not sure if there will be any additional suspects involved in that part if it."

Police say this case shows why you should always be careful about meeting people online and then inviting them into your house.

"You want to know people's background before inviting them into home," Smith said. "These types of things can happen when you don't know the person."
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