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Kids testify: Aunt shot drugs into us

By Abrad, May 3, 2006 | |
  1. Abrad
    Warren grandma, daughter face trial
    http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060503/NEWS04/605030440/-1/BUSINESS07
    May 3, 2006

    BY DAN CORTEZ

    FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

    The 12-year-old recalled going to watch TV in the basement of his grandmother's home, his belly full of spaghetti, when his aunt made him an offer.

    "My aunt gave me drugs. She asked me if I wanted some and I said, 'I guess.' She put the stuff in my arm," the mop-topped boy testified Tuesday in 37th District Court in Warren.

    He recalled little else of Jan. 25. He overdosed at the home in Warren and was rushed to a hospital, prompting an investigation that led to the arrest of his aunt Jacqueline Vuich and his grandmother Jan Ruby Catton.

    The boy went on to testify in their preliminary exam that it wasn't the first time Vuich used drugs with him, and his 15-year-old cousin testified that Vuich also injected her with drugs.

    Catton and Vuich -- mother and daughter -- were bound over for trial by Judge Walter Jakubowski.

    Vuich faces four charges of delivery of less than 50 grams of an illicit narcotic to a minor and possession of less than 25 grams of a narcotic. Three of the delivery charges were added Tuesday in response to the 15-year-old's claims.

    Catton, already facing one misdemeanor count of maintaining a drug house, seven felony counts of second-degree child abuse and one felony count of maintaining a prostitution house, will face an additional charge of second-degree child abuse.

    The 15-year-old girl testified that Vuich injected heroin into the girl's arm and smoked crack cocaine with her.

    The girl said she routinely went with "Aunt Jackie" to a home in Detroit to buy and use crack. She said Vuich would bring drugs back to Catton's home and hide them in spots like a hole in the bathroom floor.

    The girl also said Catton knew Vuich had sex with men for money behind a curtain in the basement at the five-bedroom home.

    "They were tricks," the girl testified of the men she said frequented the home. "They were there to have sex with Jackie and get high. They were ugly."

    Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Andary said as many as nine children, including the 12-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl, lived at the home between late 2004 and earlier this year, and that Catton was the legal guardian for most of them. Andary charged that Catton knew about the stashed drugs and knew that Vuich used the home for prostitution.

    "She at no point took it upon herself to remove the drugs from the home," Andary said during the exam.

    Catton's lawyer, Susan Chrzanowski, said her client did not know Vuich worked as a prostitute at the home and tried to keep Vuich and the drugs out of the house. Catton even called police about Vuich, Chrzanowski said. But Vuich and at least one other daughter who Catton suspected used drugs in the house would climb through windows to get inside.

    "The daughters disobeyed," Chrzanowski said in asking that her client be charged only with one misdemeanor count of child abuse. "She did not turn a blind eye. She told the kids not to be with Aunt Jackie."

    Catton is free on bond. Vuich is being held in the Macomb County Jail in lieu of $300,000 bond. Both women are due in Circuit Court on May 15.

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