Avengers Motorcycle Club member charged with murder for wife's death

FLINT, MI -- A member of the Avengers Motorcycle Club has been charged with murder in relation to his wife's 2012 suffocation death.

On Wednesday, April 19, Frank Bartels, 51, was arraigned in Genesee District Court on a single count of first-degree premeditated murder in relation to his wife's death in January 2012.

If convicted, he faces the potential of life in prison without parole.

Bartels' attorney, Frank J. Manley, noted that the 2012 homicide is a cold case, and that "cold cases are different by definition and tend to present very unique fact patterns."

 

"Mr. Bartels maintains his innocence and looks forward to being exonerated from these false allegations," Manley said.

On Jan. 13, 2012, police were called to Bartels' home on Van Buskirk Street regarding the possible suicide of his 38-year-old wife, Shane Bartels.

Report: January death of 38-year-old woman in Flint ruled a homicide

Frank Bartels handed officers a hand-written note that he said he found in the basement of his home, according to court records.

Police initially called the woman's death suspicious, but later ruled the death a homicide. The cause of death was asphyxiation, police said. 

Until Wednesday, no charges were ever filed in relation to the death. 

However, Bartels faced federal felony charges after police searched his home -- saying they found his wife's death suspicious -- and found a stolen .410-caliber pistol, a sawed-off shotgun, a semi-automatic .22-caliber rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun, court records show.

Avengers Motorcycle Club member gets prison time for illegal guns found after wife's homicide

In March 2014 in Flint U.S. District Court, Bartels was sentenced to 3.5 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He was previously convicted of felonious assault in September 1990.

Bartels is currently being held in the Genesee County Jail without bond.

During their search of Bartels' home, police also discovered a leather vest for the Avengers, which is labeled as a gang in a 2011 national threat gang assessment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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