Ex-Marine could be off hook in cow killing

June 3, 2010 at 7:10 PM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 3 (UPI) -- Michigan prosecutors have offered a young ex-Marine a deal -- admit killing a pregnant cow and say his mother put him up to it and the charges will be dropped.

Dustin Bender, 23, appeared in Kent County District Court Wednesday when he waived a probable cause hearing, leaving the matter open, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

Prosecutors say Bender's mother Catherine, 39, wanted to kill the cow belonging to Geri and Thomas Young to intimidate Thomas Young from testifying against her live-in boyfriend. Timothy Young, Thomas's brother, faces a criminal sexual conduct charge.

Thomas Young, who was in court Tuesday for a hearing, said he believes Catherine Bender pushed for the cow's death, even if it was her son who actually pulled the trigger. He said he does not believe Dustin Bender and other young people involved should be punished and that Dustin's honorable service in Iraq in the Marines should be held in his favor.

"We were all 19, and we all did dumb things," he said.

Dustin Bender and his mother face related charges in Ottawa County, where prosecutors have not yet signed on to any deal.

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