A man was arraigned Wednesday in the death of his wife, who was shot in a parking lot outside the Morning Sun newspaper offices after police say she was rammed and flipped over in her vehicle.
Police say Mary Babb was still strapped in her seat belt and hanging upside down in her sport utility vehicle when Thomas Daniel Babb fired two rounds from a .20-gauge shotgun Tuesday as horrified witnesses looked on.
Mary Babb, 30, was pronounced dead at a hospital.
“Once a car flips onto its top, people take notice,” said Mount Pleasant Police Officer Daniel Catlin. “It unfolded before their eyes.”
Thomas Babb, 37, of Gaylord was arraigned on seven charges, including felony murder, open murder and aggravated stalking. He was being held without bail with a preliminary hearing set for Jan. 25.
Authorities say they believe Thomas Babb was waiting outside the Morning Sun offices about 4:30 p.m. when his wife, an advertising representative for the newspaper, drove her SUV into the parking lot. Witnesses told police the suspect then rammed Mary Babb’s vehicle with his pickup truck, pushing it across the parking lot and causing it to roll over onto its roof.
Catlin said Mary Babb had seen her estranged husband and drove to the newspaper office hoping to find safety there. She had worked for nearly eight years in sales and management positions for Morning Star Publishing, the Morning Sun’s parent company.
State police arrested Babb about 7 p.m. Tuesday in Osceola County. Catlin said the suspect likely was en route to his parents’ home in Evart, about 45 miles northwest of Mount Pleasant, when he crashed his car in a ditch. Babb had gotten a ride from a passer-by minutes before police surrounded the vehicle, Catlin told The Saginaw News.
Police said Mary Babb had obtained a personal protection order against Thomas Babb. He already was facing charges of beating and sexually assaulting his wife in Otsego County, the Morning Sun reported.
Flint attorney Jeffrey Clothier, who represented the suspect at Wednesday’s arraignment, said he expected to file a “forensic motion” apparently requesting a psychiatric or competency examination for Babb.
Conviction on either murder charge carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.