Deputies to stand trial after man died while in West Michigan jail

Four Muskegon County deputies will stand trial after a man died while in custody in 2019.

Sgt. David Vanderlaan and deputies Jeffrey Patterson, Crystal Greve, Jamal Lane were all charged with involuntary manslaughter – failure to perform a legal duty in connection with the death.

Norton Shores police arrested Paul Bulthouse, 39, on March 22, 2019. He was brought to the Muskegon County Jail on a probation detainer.

Officials said Bulthouse was classified as suicidal. He was placed in a cell close to the booking center, where he was on camera at all times and was required to be monitored every 15 minutes.

On April 4, 2019, he suffered numerous visible seizures over a five-and-a-half-hour period, officials said.

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The Michigan Attorney General's Office reviewed hours of video footage, medical records, and police reports related to death before charging the deputies. Judge Geoffrey Nolan, with the Muskegon County 60th District Court, decided that there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

If convicted, they could spend up to 15 years in prison.

Nolan declined to bind Wellpath registered nurse Aubrey Schotts over for trial.  The AG's office is reviewing options regarding the dismissal of charges against Schotts. 

"The oath to protect and serve extends to those who are in police custody," said AG Dana Nessel. "We will continue our pursuit of justice for Mr. Bulthouse and his loved ones as this case moves to trial." 

If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text 741-741.