Mark David Latunski, the Shiawassee County man accused of killing and dismembering 25-year-old Kevin Bacon in December 2019, has pleaded guilty to the crime.
Latunski, 52, appeared before Judge Matthew J. Stewart of the 35th Circuit Court Thursday, Sept. 22, and pleaded guilty as charged to open murder and mutilation of a body.
Latunski was originally charged with open murder and mutilation of a body in December 2019, days after Bacon's mutilated body was discovered inside the basement of Latunski's Bennington Township home.
Police Found Parts of Bacon's Body Eaten
On Dec. 24, 2019, Bacon, a 25-year-old hairdresser of Swartz Creek, headed out to meet a guy he matched with on Grindr - the dating and hookup app for predominantly gay, bisexual, and transgender men.
The next day, after he missed Christmas breakfast with his family, his father called the police. For three days, friends, family, and authorities looked for Bacon. After Bacon's roommate told him he was last seen before an encounter with a man he met on the dating app, police came knocking on Latunski's residence.
Bacon was found dead with stab wounds, his body hung from his ankles, his throat cut, and parts of him eaten in the basement of Latunski's home, according to police. His body was found on Dec. 28, 2019.
After being read his rights, Latunski told police he planned to use Bacon's blood and bones to fertilize plants on his property; he hoped to use his muscles for jerky and found that Latunski had fried and eaten Bacon's testicles.
Latunski's Plea Deal
Latunski on Thursday admitted to stabbing Bacon in the back while the two were at the former's home. After Bacon had died, Latunski said in court, he removed part of his body and took them to the kitchen.
The plea came against the recommendation of Latunski's attorney, Mary Chartier, who had indicated that she was interested in using an insanity defense at trial.
"While this is not an outcome that (defense attorney) Mr. Krause and I think is in Mr. Latunski's best interest, we do have to follow Mr. Latunski's wishes," Chartier said in court. "We have discussed this matter and consistently he's been very clear, more than once, multiple times, on his choice and on his reasoning."
She said during the hearing that while she respects his decision, she believed her client would have been better suited in a hospital setting.
An open murder charge encompasses first-degree murder, second-degree murder and manslaughter. Shiawassee County Circuit Judge Matthew Stewart will determine which of those crimes were committed in a hearing Oct. 18 and Oct. 19, Chartier said. A sentencing hearing will be held on a subsequent date, she said. If convicted, Latunski faces a possible life sentence.
Previous Incidents Involving Latunski
Bacon was not Latunski's first victim, according to police. During the fall of 2019, troopers responded to a call for a partially-clothed man being chased out of Latunski's house, state police said. The man said he had consented to being at the house and ran after becoming spooked, police said.
There also was a custodial kidnapping case in 2013 in which Latunski was initially found incompetent to stand trial. Latunski was later found competent to stand trial but the charges were eventually dismissed at the request of the victim.