CORUNNA — A civil lawsuit by Paul Latunski, brother of accused killer Mark Latunski, is moving forward after a hearing Thursday in 35th Circuit Court.
The lawsuit is seeking damages from Steven Deehl, the man who bought Mark Latunski’s property at auction in February, as well as Deehl’s son, Alex Deehl.
Mark Latunski, who had owned the home and property, is being held in the Michigan Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ypsilanti. He was initially found incompetent to stand trial for the December 2019 murder and mutilation of 25-year-old Kevin Bacon of Swartz Creek. However, Mark Latunski was found competent Monday by 66th District Court Judge Ward Clarkson.
A pre-trial examination is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 23.
At Thursday’s hearing, Paul Latunski’s attorney, Justin English, argued Steven Deehl — who purchased the property at a Feb. 28 auction for $101,733.28 — had trespassed by posting a notice of abandonment on the door of the 703 W. Tyrrell Road residence. English said the house was never abandoned and Paul Latunski has been appointed as conservator for his brother’s property and assets.
English also claimed Alex Deehl had removed property from the residence when he moved in shortly after it was purchased at auction and had caused unspecified damages to the residence.
George Rizik, attorney for Steven Deehl, said his client never took possession of the property or resided there. Rizik said Alex Deehl was staying in the home without his father’s permission. Paul Latunski filed suit in district court several months ago, and Alex Deehl was evicted from the property in September.
Further court proceedings in Paul Latunski’s lawsuit in circuit court have not yet been scheduled.
Attorneys for Security Credit Union, of Flint, published a notice of foreclosure Jan. 23 in The Argus-Press, as required by state law. According to the notice, Mark Latunski took out a mortgage Oct. 29, 2013, for $76,336.18 for his property.
Paul Latunski told The Argus-Press in May he had twice attempted to submit payment to the Shiawassee County Prosecutor’s Office for the outstanding balance owed on the mortgage. He claimed the payment was refused both times and the county, he said, claimed Mark Latunski had abandoned the property.
In Michigan, owners of foreclosed homes can negate a bank sale by paying the purchase prices, plus fees, to the purchaser within a set period of time, typically six months, but sometimes as long as one year. If the property is considered abandoned, the period is 30 days.
English submitted a “redemption” payment of $103,000 to the Shiawassee County to the attorney for Steven Deehl, and the property was returned to Paul Latunski.
In February, as the bank auction took place, Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Michigan State Police troopers were called to the Latunski home for what they called at the time “a civil dispute.” According to Mark Latunski’s ex-wife, she, Latunski’s estranged husband Jamie Arnold and Latunski’s children arrived at the house to collect belongings.
When they arrived, the murder suspect’s siblings were unwilling to allow them inside to collect items.
Just before the auction, Shiawassee County Probate Court Judge Thomas Dignan issued an emergency order appointing Paul Latunski as Mark Latunski’s conservator, according to dozens of pages of court filings.
Officers were able to mediate the situation when they arrived, and Latunski’s siblings allowed his children to enter the house and collect personal items.
Later, Paul Latunski was charged with two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly breaking into the house March 28 with a shotgun and threatening Alex Deehl. However, those charges were dismissed by prosecutors in June. It appears the dismissal was directly related to the civil proceedings initiated by Paul Latunski as conservator.
Following Thursday’s hearing, Paul Latunski was served with a separate federal lawsuit filed by a New York man who fled Mark Latunski’s residence in October 2019 after a consensual BDSM encounter.
Since Mark Latunski was deemed incompetent to stand trial at the time the federal lawsuit was filed, attorneys for the plaintiff had to serve Paul Latunski, since he is the conservator for his brother’s property.
The federal lawsuit is seeking $1,000,000 in damages and/or the seizure of Mark Latunski’s property. No further dates have yet been set in the federal lawsuit.