Ypsilanti murder suspect, Detroit murder person of interest Orlando Whitfield faces judge

Orlando Whitfield, a Ypsilanti murder suspect and now the person of interest in a double murder was in court Wednesday.

Whitfield briefly took part in a Zoom conference for a bond violation hearing. His attorney requested the hearing to take place during another court matter set for next week.

"He’s being held without bond until next Tuesday, where we will see Judge Kuhnke and where we will address the bond violation of the cutting off of the tether at that time, alongside setting a jury trial date for the allegations themselves," said Erika Julien, defense attorney.

Whitfield is facing several felonies for the 2018 homicide of 25-year-old Marissa Edmunds in Ypsilanti. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Washtenaw County Judge Carol Kuhnke let him out bond out and put him on a tether.

But last week police alerted the family of Marissa Edmunds that Whitfield had cut off his tether and could not be located. The latest development was Whitfield being named in connection to a double murder on Northlawn Street where a 9-month-old baby was found alone in the house with his dead parents.

Cindy Warren, the mother of Marissa Edmunds, said she is in disbelief.

"It is awful, it is like a nightmare and I can’t wake up," she said. "I know he’s a person of interest in the homicides in Detroit. My feeling is if he did do it,  had he been in custody, these people would still be alive."

The victims in the double homicide are a 31-year-old man and his 27-year-old girlfriend. They were found inside this home on Northlawn with their 9-month-old baby who was not hurt.

Orlando Whitfield during his Wednesday Zoom conference.

Orlando Whitfield during his Wednesday Zoom conference.

"I don’t know anything about this investigation or how it is that his name came to be brought as a person of interest," Julien said. "I do maintain that the entire time - even with the tether off - that he did not engage in any criminal activity."

Whitfield’s attorney also says her client is not responsible for the homicide of Marissa Edmunds.

"I will maintain that he did not shoot Marissa Edmunds, but I am not able to comment further about the inside allegations or any other participants or anything else like that, at this time," Julien added.

But the Edmunds family believes Whitfield, who has been called a habitual offender, is guilty of taking the life of Marissa and they have this message for Judge Ruhnke as Whitfield’s case moves forward and Detroit police continue to investigate his alleged involvement in the double homicide.

"He needs to stay in jail until he can be proven innocent or guilty of my daughter’s murder," Warren said.