No bond for suspects in 2018 slaying of Bath Township hunter

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ST. JOHNS – Two Lansing-area men accused of the 2018 killing of a hunter in Bath Township were denied bond in a hearing Jan. 31.

Thomas Olson, left, and Robert Rodway

Clinton County Sheriff’s Department

Thomas Olson, left, and Robert Rodway

Thomas Olson, of Grand Blanc Township and Robert Rodway, of St. Johns, both 34, face murder and robbery charges in the death of Chong Moua Yang. Yang, 68, of Lansing, was found fatally shot in the Rose Lake Wildlife Area of Bath Township in November 2018, where he frequently hunted.

Police found Yang in his orange hunting jacket. His backpack, shotgun and headlamp were missing. The following morning, investigators found tracks leading from the victim to a bag containing hunting supplies. Police say DNA testing linked the bag’s contents to Olson. A witness told police he saw two men matching Olson and Rodway’s descriptions holding three guns while walking in the area the night of the killing. 

Police have said they obtained search warrants for Olson and Rodway’s phones and discovered texts between the two discussing the investigation.

Clinton County 65A District Judge Michael Clarizio denied Olson and Rodway’s motions for bond largely because of those texts.

Shortly after the killing, Yang’s children launched a social media campaign, #OrangeJustice, seeking information about their father’s death. That campaign has grown into a strong nucleus of support around the family, and has garnered national attention, especially in the Hmong American community Yang is from.

Dozens of Yang’s family members, friends and supporters packed the courtroom in St. Johns on Jan. 31. More than 250 people from Michigan to California watched the proceedings online.

“The Hmong community, the hunting community, the Bath Township community, have all been very supportive,” said Lansing attorney Joseph Yang, who is a spokesperson for the family. 

“Mr. Yang lived in the Lansing area, but Bath Township and Rose Lake was his hunting home.”

— Family spokesman

Chong Yang’s family traveled from the Detroit area to be at the bond hearing and have promised to be at every hearing to come. 

A preliminary hearing to determine whether the defendants should stand trial is scheduled to begin March 21.

“We want to show that we’re here and we’re supporting,” said Joseph Yang. “We’re standing in place of our family member who can’t stand here by himself.”

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