What do you do when you’re charged with crimes you didn’t commit?
A former Oakland County couple was plagued with this travesty, and they are anxious to clear their names and to fight back.
On May 28, 2018, in Northville, Michigan, Kevin and Nicole King experienced the worst day of their lives when local law enforcement let them down and erroneously charged them with crimes they did not commit—crimes so severe that Kevin King faced the possibility of seven years in jail.
So what did happen that fateful day, you ask? After interviewing multiple witnesses, it still seems like a whirlwind of craziness, including stalking and harassment, that ended in charges of felonious assault by Kevin King, and charges of minor misdemeanors by Nicole King.
"I'll remember that day for the rest of my life", says Nicole King. "I still have PTSD from it, and pray that justice is finally served."
According to the police report, at approximately 1:28 pm, Kevin and Nicole returned from a long weekend in Greenbush, Michigan, to the home they rented for their animal rescue, and later took occupancy of, to find a strange car sitting in their driveway. Nicole said:
"I instantly panicked, and my heart sunk. Our house had been broken into just weeks prior. We knew who it was, but the police and Sheriff's Department had done nothing to assist us. We filed police reports, we submitted lists of our stolen property, and we even offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of the thieves. We begged the police to help us, but they kept saying there was nothing they could or would do. When we first tried to file a report at the Lyon Township Sheriff's Department, Lieutenant Venus said to me, ‘I’m not wasting valuable resources getting in the middle of your kiddy spat’. No one would help us."
Mark Venus was the Lieutenant assigned to the King‘s case, after the lead Detective, Ginnel, was mysteriously removed from their case and put on the midnight shift after being seen being reamed out by Prosecutor Sydney Turner, who represented The People.
According to King, what was going on was far worse than a kiddy spat. In fact, she claims that for months a small group of women had been harassing and stalking her and her husband, one of those women being Debbi Rammacher, also known as Debbi Atkins-Thorpe. Rammacher recently faced multiple felony charges for animal cruelty in two counties. Rammacher is also the sister to Gerald Atkins, the gunman who opened fire with an assault rifle at the Wixom Ford plant in 1996, killing a worker and injuring several others.
”I knew these people were dangerous. And I knew Debbi was abusing and neglecting animals, while claiming to be a rescuer. Animals went in, but never came out She would never let anyone come to her home, and that seemed very odd. When I finally took a dog named Sammy from her that was severely neglected and flea-ridden, my worst fears were confirmed. So I tried to bring awareness, and she tried to mute me by having all of her friends attack me to minimize my credibility. She went as far as to claim she wished she was like her brother and she could handle us his way. And to think that people were sending this woman all kinds of donations is just nuts.”
Debbi Rammacher is best known for being busted by Macomb County, where she was found with dozens of dogs in heinous conditions, many of which needed to be humanely euthanized. Rammacher’s home was raided by Animal Control after a tip was called in by their local waste management company, after Rammacher‘s boyfriend, and the legal homeowner, started a fight with a waste management employee.
King says she event sent a letter to the Oakland County Prosecutor's office on April 11, 2018, begging for protection and legal action to be taken against these women, but no one ever responded to King's pleas.
"We even hired a law firm out of Southfield, paying them $5,000 to put pressure on the Sheriff's department to press charges against these women for making our lives Hell. They were harassing my husband at his job; filing false reviews online, calling his Manager, spewing any lies they could think of to torment us. They were calling in false police reports, making false claims to Animal Control, and were defaming us all over social media. They tormented my friends, family, and anyone affiliated with us. They drove past our homes, spoofed threats to my phone all hours of the night, and even broke into our home once before and stole over $10,000 of our personal property."
King went on to explain that she and her husband had rented the home where this nightmare occurred in Northville, Michigan, in hopes of using it for their animal rescue, formerly known as TLC Animal Rescue. The intent was to have a location to help educate her local community about pet ownership, offer free food assistance and training, as well as have a place for meet and greets of animals that were in foster awaiting adoption.
"I was going to call it the Animal Resource Center. I ran a rescue for decades, and I wanted more space to grow. This home had 10 acres and a barn on it, so it was a perfect spot for one-on-one training, and a place to store supplies for our community".
Speaking of community, Kevin and Nicole King were no strangers to theirs, thanks to their years of philanthropic efforts, like her animal rescue, that were often in the media. The Kings received a high level of notoriety and media attention in 2017, after TLC and several other local animal rescues joined efforts to transport over 600 animals from the hurricane damaged areas of Florida and Houston back to Michigan for adoption.
But sadly, the Kings' dreams were crushed and they closed their rescue after 15 years. We asked King to sum up what happened on the hottest day on record on May 28, 2018. King said:
"What it all boiled down to is, I was contacted by a mutual friend who told me a woman named Anne Birckelbaw was living in Flint and was about to be homeless, due to her rental home being 'red-tagged'. I felt bad. I thought I could help. I had this huge house in Northville that had two stories, and I thought I could provide a place for them to stay in exchange for helping to care for any animals that needed temporary housing and foster care. So I reached out. It was the biggest mistake of my life."
King went on to explain that she offered Ms. Birckelbaw and her grown son the ability to reside in her rental home, paying $600 a month to live in the 2,700 square foot residence. Soon after the Kings befriended the mother and son, and let them live in their home in Milford with them until the home in Northville was complete.
"She just wanted to help someone she thought was going to be homeless", Kevin King said about his wife. "This woman, (sic: Anne Birckelbaw) turned out to be a monster, and tried to destroy our lives. I still don't understand it, and I probably never will.”
”I tried to help this woman. The next thing I know she’s sick in the hospital, doesn’t want to move in, and is sending me insane text messages. She was like Jekyl and Hyde.”
According to evidence that surfaced during the discovery process, the Kings spent months doing repairs on the house on Napier, as it had been vacant for three years and had been broken into multiple times, leaving the home uninhabitable. Receipts provided by the defendants proved there was $7,900 in copper piping alone that had to be replaced by a local plumbing company in Wixom, among numerous other repairs her and her husband paid for out of their own pockets. King continued:
"The roof was leaking, the basement had been flooded and was all moldy, the well had been damaged during a prior break-in, the heating didn't work, copper piping was cut out of the ceiling by vandals, the front porch had to be rebuilt, all of the light fixtures had been stolen, the list goes on. The house was totally misrepresented, and come to find out it isn't even legal in the state of Michigan to rent an uninhabitable home, making the renters responsible for all the repairs. This house didn't even have a Certificate of Occupancy."
Listing records show that Nicole Moskal-Paige was the listing agent for the home on Napier. King explained that Nicole Moskal-Paige was at one point in time a friend she trusted, but no longer has a relationship with, as Moskal-Paige described as the "ring-leader" of this torment against the Kings in an email from Lieutenant Venus.
The Kings claimed that the house had been totally misrepresented and that they weren't told the extent of damages to the home and were blind-sided. Nicole King also provided copies of text messages between her and Moskal-Paige addressing the fact Moskal-Paige had entered the home to let in an insurance agent, turning on the electric box that powered the well. According to Kevin King,
"It was the middle of Winter, the water hadn't been turned on in 3 years, there was no heat in the house, and she was turning on the water! All it did was cause the pipes to freeze and crack, causing another disaster for us to clean up. And of course no one offered to help us pay for their mistakes."
When talking to Kevin, he added that he and his wife had put in all new carpeting throughout the basement and master bedroom, put in new flooring in the kitchen, remodeled the bathroom, redid the entire kitchen, painted the entire basement and bedrooms, put in new toilets, hired a company to build a front porch, and had a list of other repairs and cosmetic updates they were in the process of doing.
But the Kings never got a chance to finish any of their plans, because little did the Kings know, the group of women that had been harassing them had something different in store for them.
As if it seems impossible for another plot twist to get thrown into the mix, Debbi Rammacher reached out to Birckelbaw, and together they decided to make the Kings a target.
Anne Birckelbaw and her new roommate, Nicole Litzelman, along with a handful of Rammacher and her friends had been plotting and scheming to "take down" the Kings. Per text messages that surfaced, Birckelbaw, Moskal-Paige and Litzelman had been stalking the Kings' social media accounts, and broke-into their home on Saturday, May 26th, just two days before the day the Kings will remember forever. They would then enlist Rammacher to make posts on Facebook to torment and even threaten the Kings, with one of those threats coming from an Oakland County Deputy named Joann Bemis. Bemis claimed she was going to, “Send over some of my finest Sicilians” to the Kings’ home, while following up that statement with, “Don’t they know I’m a crazy Italian with a badge?”
The King’s say women defamed them all over social media. contacted acquaintances to come steal the Kings' dogs, and helped themselves to the personal property of the Kings, as validated by text exchanges that also made it into discovery.
Birckelbaw and Litzelman were camped out inside the Kings' home, waiting for them to return from their long weekend. They had enlisted the efforts of Nicole Moskal-Paige, among a handful of others, to concoct an elaborate plan to frame the Kings, or as they described it in text exchanges, a plan to, "destroy their lives".
None of what they said happened ever happened, Nicole King said, as she put her head in her hands and teared up recalling that fateful day.
"They were stalking my Facebook page, and had made a plan to set up my husband and I. We found out they went as far as to put trail cams in our yard so they could spy on us coming and going. I had no idea at the time, and to find this all out after-the-fact was nothing short of creepy. It still makes me shiver to think people can be this dangerous and cruel!
We came home, they were in our house, we yelled at them to get out, end of story. Nicole Litzelman refused to leave, while Anne went running out the front door after I unlocked it for her, because she couldn't figure out how to open it. I called her a drama queen and told her to get out of my house. Nothing else happened to her. I'm not stupid, I knew she was on the phone with 911".
She continued, "Anne claimed my husband broke a panel of glass on our door to gain entry to our own home, and then pointed a gun at her roommate's head, and then drug her around by her hair," claims Nicole King.
"The truth is they barricaded our doors with my own furniture! The glass on the door was already broken, blood was all over, we had no idea what was going on!", King said as her voice raised.
King recalled seeing a text message Moskal-Paige sent to an acquaintance, where she says, “The Eagle has landed. Anne is in the house”.
The text was sent on May 26th, while the King’s were still on vacation. Nicole King recalls:
"We pulled into our driveway and saw an SUV we didn't recognize. We couldn't open our front door. Our garage wouldn't open. We went around to our back door and our fence was knocked down and there was blood all over our sunroom. We had no idea what was going on! Kevin carries a gun. It's registered. It's permitted. He took a class. He was also in the Marines and volunteered as a police officer for years. It's not as if he's some hot head that doesn't know how to use a gun. Anne knew Kevin carried a gun, she lived with us for months!"
The police report states that Anne Birckelbaw called 911 and alleged that she was still a tenant at the Napier home, and that the Kings had illegally entered and, "Tried to kill her". She was referring to herself and the other complaining plaintiff, Nicole Litzelman.
In Birckelbaw's 911 call, you can hear a breathless woman screaming, "Help me! Help me! I don't want to die". She then claims to be hiding in bushes near the King’s home.
But what you can also hear in the background is Nicole King calling Anne Birckelbaw, "a drama queen", in a calm and almost flippant tone.
Ironically, what you can't hear, as Nicole King pointed out, is any yelling or screaming. There are no cries for help. All you can hear is Anne Birckelbaw telling the 911 Operator that Nicole King is, "Still in the house", but later told the police in her statement that NIcole King was, "Chasing her down the driveway", threatening, "Today is a good day to die!"
Nicole explained, "It was 103 degrees that day, we hit a record. I didn't even have shoes on, so I most certainly wasn't chasing someone down our long, gravel driveway during a mind-numbing heatwave! Not to mention, who would even say something as ridiculous as, 'today is a good day to die' anyways?"
But sure enough, according to a Facebook post made by Anne Birckelbaw on May 29, 2018, she recalls the event using the same verbiage, as she goes on to describe the events more like it was something she had rehearsed for days, than the words of a terrified victim of a viscous assault.
"Anne was in our house. She was standing in the kitchen laughing. This was her plan all along", Kevin King says.
Kevin went on to explain, “Nothing was out of place in our home, and Nicole (Litzelman) didn’t have a hair out of place. How did trained police not notice this?”
So what would make someone go to these elaborate lengths in an effort to cause such devastating harm to someone else?
"I really don't know", says Nicole King. "One minute I had become friends with this woman and was trying to help her, the next she was befriended by Rammacher, acting crazy and told me she didn't want to move into the house anymore. She sent me proof of doing a walk-through with the landlord, left keys, and sent me a text saying she never wanted to set foot in the house again." She continued:
"My best guess is she noticed we’d spent a ton of money fixing up the house, and she thought she could force her way back in. I guess she wasn’t happy living in Nicole Litzelman’s basement. I know her cash flow was cut off, she was dating some guy who had been in a work accident and won a lot of money in a lawsuit, and he was funding her. He found out while he was in the hospital that she had an affair with his brother and broke up with her. I guess she realized I’d never let her move in after finding out who she really was, and felt she had no other option than to scheme to take advantage. She was also mad long before any of this happened, because I said I wouldn't let her boyfriend move into the house, after he admitted he had a heroine addiction. I didn't want that anywhere near anything we had to do with!"
"These women are crazy, and they stole all of our property. They should be in jail", Kevin King added.
According to the Kings, the handful of women had broken into their home and stolen approximately $30,000 of their personal property on numerous occasions, but the police failed to investigate or take action against the perpetrators. Missing items consisted of expensive tools, speakers, mementos, a TV that was donated to Nicole King, furniture, bags of shoes and clothing, a new carpet cleaner, a new vacuum, designer hand bags, a laptop, a cell phone, among numerous other items.
Nicole King states that:
"The Lyon Township Sheriff's Department even had a warrant served on Verizon for my phone records. They proved my cell phone was pinging from a cell tower a third of a mile from where Nicole Litzelman and Anne Birckelbaw lived, over 30 miles from our home. We were in jail awaiting arraignment for crimes we didn't commit when they were going through my phone they stole, and were disseminating personal information like my medical records, to any and everyone."
"We were violated. We were crucified. We spent our entire life savings defending ourselves before the truth finally came out."
"We spent tens of thousands of dollars on Attorney fees, court costs, bond, tethers, loss of income... it was awful! I wanted to die. I couldn't believe our legal system had failed us so horribly!", Nicole exclaimed as the tears continued to trickle down her cheek.
It was important for Kevin King to add, "These women were allowed to destroy our lives, and they got away with it”.
What Kevin King is referring to is a refusal by the Oakland County Prosecutor's office to pursue charges against the women that caused such chaos for the Kings.
According to witnesses, friends of the perpetrators came forward approximately eight months after the Kings were charged. These witnesses unleashed a barrage of text messages, group chat conversations and Facebook messages that outlined the heinous plan that would haunt the Kings forever.
"It's all in black and white. You can't dispute any of it. These women broke into our house, stalked us, planned on being there when we got home, and concocted a scheme to try to get my husband and I thrown in jail", says Nicole King.
So why haven't any of these women been charged for their crimes? The Kings want to know.
Nicole's hand shook as she handed over an email from Lt. Venus that was a thinly veiled apology, admitting he knew that Nicole Litzelman was a thief and stole the King's property. It went on to say he wished there was more he could do, and expressed remorse for what they had been through.
Nicole King continued to explain, "The Lieutenant on the case is now conveniently retired, but he claimed it's because the witnesses that came forward aren't credible, since they were initially in on it all. But how fair is that to us? It's not our fault that local law enforcement was negligent in their investigation and let us suffer for nearly a year. These women can break into a person's home, steal all their property, file a false police report that cost us our life-savings, and nothing happens to them? What is wrong with this picture?"
"We lost everything. And to think I even gave Anne Birckelbaw and her son a vehicle. I gave it to them! Who even does that for someone? And this is how she thanked us for letting her and her son live with us for free, and after giving her a van?", King says.
The Oakland County Prosecutor on this case was Sydney Turner, who was crucified not long ago for a frivolous case against a husband who had hacked into his wife's email account to confirm she was being unfaithful and was endangering their child. After months of litigation, the charges were eventually dropped. However, that didn't help shield Turner from the outrage from the public for wasting taxpayer dollars pursing the case.
The Kings also explained that their cases were heard in the Novi, 52-1 courthouse, known for housing Judges forced to resigned for unethical behavior. Judge Travis Reeds presided over the case, who was later reported to the Attorney Grievance Commission for violating the civil rights of the Kings.
"This Judge denied us the right to return to our home. We couldn't collect our property, couldn't get our vehicles, nothing. We walked out of jail with nothing but the clothes on our backs, and I didn't even have shoes on", cried Nicole King.
According to a Hometown Life reporter, who favored the Plaintiffs in her articles, Judge Reeds agreed to recuse himself, but failed to ever do so, later refusing. He publicly announced in court his dismay that Nicole King filed a grievance against him, despite the fact Nicole wasn't even in court that day. He is on the record telling Kevin King, "Tell your wife I'm not happy that I've had a complaint filed against me, but I'll recuse myself if need be". Records show Reeds later told Kevin King to advise that he was bumping up her next court date by a month, and told him to relay the message, despite the fact it's the court's job to give a defendant this information.
"The Judge was biased. I went to high school with him, and didn't like him back then either. And just when you think none of this could get any crazier, you get a disgruntled Judge on your case, who violates your rights", King explained.
Court records show that Sydney Turner bombarded the Kings with Show Cause Hearings and made numerous frivolous allegations, claiming Nicole King violated her conditions of bond by being on social media. But during the hearing, it was proven Nicole King had no such bond condition. Judge Reeds insisted he was right, until he took the time to review those conditions, and discovered he was in fact wrong.
"I see that condition didn't make it into her bond conditions after all", Reeds said, after threatening King with jail.
"I'll just deny Ms. King the right to use any social media, how's that?" Reeds asked of Prosecutor Sydney Turner. "Is there anything else you want me to add to her conditions?"
It was then that King's Attorney finally spoke up and accused the Judge of violating her civil rights, to which the Judge finally conceded.
”I couldn’t believe this was happening. It felt like a bad nightmare. All I kept thinking about was how flawed our legal system is, and how was it possible this was happening to us? These women would all come to court and taunt us, going as far as to wear jewelry they stole from me to court. They would threaten our lives and solicit people on Facebook to come to court to harass us. I had a panic attack in open court, and had to get counseling. Yet the Judge was ignorant enough to claim I was the one who was a danger!”
King claimed Judge Reeds made a habit of harassing her, and his biased demeanor was obvious to everyone that witnessed his behavior towards the Kings.
"It amazes me that people like Travis Reeds and Sydney Turner are shielded from criminal and civil actions", Nicole and Kevin King both agreed.
"Reeds destroyed our lives. How can you deny someone a right to return to their home, only allowing the perps to have free reign to go back in and steal whatever they want? Because that's exactly what they did!" King exclaimed.
"We still had legal rights to this home until August 28th, 2018, and yet Nicole Moskal-Paige and the landlord were illegally entering, destroying our property and allowing anyone to enter to take whatever they want. We have seen the text messages where these women were offering our property for sale to friends of theirs. They posted our property on Facebook Marketplace for sale, and yet still the police did absolutely nothing!"
It is now a year and nine months since the Kings faced the worst nightmare of their lives, and they swear to get justice for what they went through.
"We've finally hired two law firms to start filing civil lawsuits. We just paid another $5,000 to file another suit, and it's money we really needed to help bounce back after this ordeal. We shouldn't have to continue suffering to get justice. This is just crazy. I'm so sickened by how badly our legal system let us down", Nicole claims.
Court records show the Kings have filed suit against their prior landlord, Leo Soave.
"We will continue to file suit against the other guilty parties, but litigation isn't cheap and it's very time-consuming. We are trying to rebuild our lives, while also trying to get justice for what was done to us. It's exhausting and overwhelming."
In addition to the false charges filed against the Kings, there is an abundance of additional enlightening evidence that was combed through that proved their innocence, including the fact that Kevin King took two polygraph tests and passed, while Anne Birckelbaw and Nicole Litzelman refused.
"I used to love our legal system and law enforcement, and now I loathe both. I have never been more disgusted in my life, to learn what our legal system is all about. We dealt with cover-ups, ex-parte communications, conspiracy and more. You think this stuff only happens on TV, but it happens in your own backyards, and it should scare the heck out of you. If this could happen to us, it can happen to anyone! Just look at the articles online about the 52-1 court. To think a Judge like Reeds is allowed to still sit on the bench is terrifying to me. How many other lives will he destroy? This man doesn't even know the law, and denied us the right to return to our own home without even having a hearing! He should have to pay all of our bills, and all of the costs associated with having to rent a house while going through this mess!"
Sydney Turner failed to respond to a request for comment.
"I just want justice. I want these women to pay for what they did. We aren't their first victims, and we won't be their last", Kevin King said.
Kevin was referencing to a plethora of emails and messages sent to him from prior victims of Litzelman, Moskal-Paige and Birckelbaw.
"Just look!", Kevin said abruptly. "Moskal-Paige's own husband just got out of jail, and she's been married 5 times. Anne, (sic: Birckelbaw) has a history of mental illness, and her own Mother and brother wrote my wife to tell her that she was crazy and that they were sorry for what she was doing to us".
After doing some digging, it appears as if these women are no stranger to court proceedings, as Birckelbaw has a lengthy list of evictions and judgments against her, in addition to unlawful entry charges, Moskal-Paige had several suits against her, and witnesses came forward to tell us their accounts of Litzelman being ostracized from several local animal rescues for deplorable and questionable behavior, such as harassing adoption applicants and allegations of stealing dogs.
The Kings both agreed, "We just want the Oakland County Prosecutor's office to do the right thing and to press charges against these criminals. We want them behind bars. We want them to get a taste of what we went through. We want justice".
”Please also don’t reelect Reeds” King says.
The Kings have asked that anyone interested in helping them get justice contact the Lyon Township Sheriff's Department or the Oakland County Prosecutor's office to request charges to be pressed against all parties involved.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.