Murder charges filed in ax murder of Detroit-area man


WAYNE, Mich. -- A man has been charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of a 58-year-old man who was struck in the head with an ax outside his Detroit-area home.

The Wayne County prosecutor's office said on Monday that Jesse Gunderson is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Wayne's 29th District Court.

Danny Dart was killed Saturday in the backyard of his Wayne home, west of Detroit. Prosecutors say Gunderson had been living in Dart's home for several weeks.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Gunderson, 26, was Dart's grandson. However, the circumstances surrounding his arrival is still reportedly unclear.

Dart's brother-in-law, John Phillips, told the paper that the victim tried to be "a mentor, and a parent figure" -- inviting Gunderson on outings whenever he could.

"He was such a good guy," Phillips said of Dart. "He would just give his shirt off his back not only to take his family members in...but to get them on their feet. And he was trying to do that for this young man as well."

Around 5 p.m. on Saturday, for reasons still unknown, Gunderson allegedly went into the backyard alone and grabbed an ax that Dart used for chopping firewood. When the victim went outside some time later, prosecutors say the suspect brought the ax down on his head -- killing him, reported the Detroit Free Press.

It was not clear Monday whether Gunderson had an attorney.