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National
Married father of 4 accused of killing, cannibalizing Grindr date on Christmas Eve
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Married father of 4 accused of killing, cannibalizing Grindr date on Christmas Eve

Father of 4 accused of killing, cannibalizing Grindr date

Married father of 4 accused of killing, cannibalizing Grindr date on Christmas Eve

A Michigan man is sitting in jail awaiting a mental competency hearing after authorities say he killed, strung up and cannibalized a man he met on Grindr over the Christmas holidays.

Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, is charged with open murder and mutilation of a human body, according to court records. He is being held without bail in the Shiawassee County Jail.

Latunski is accused of the brutal killing of Kevin Richard Bacon, 25, of Swartz Creek. Bacon was a hairstylist and student at the University of Michigan-Flint, according to his obituary.

“He was a good person. He was compassionate,” Bacon’s father, Karl Bacon, said, according to WNEM in Saginaw. “He cared for the people he met. He cared for the people he worked with. He loved everyone.”

Michelle Myers, Kevin Bacon’s best friend and roommate, told MLive he just wanted to be loved in return.

“My beautiful friend was put through things that should’ve never happened,” Myers said. “Kevin just wanted to feel loved and was working so hard on loving himself.”

Kevin Bacon’s death, in garnering national headlines, caught the attention of several celebrities -- including actor Kevin Bacon. The actor posted a photo of the slain hairdresser on his Instagram page Dec. 30, writing that, “for obvious reasons,” he was thinking about the young man’s family and friends that morning.

“His life was taken from him much too soon,” actor Kevin Bacon wrote. “His love was hair dressing. I bet he would have done a great job on this mess on my head. RIP KB.”

A friend of the homicide victim wrote on Facebook that she used to joke around with her friend about whether the “famous Kevin Bacon” knew him. She said seeing the actor’s Instagram post about her slain friend was “oddly comforting.”


Makeup artist Jeffree Starr also commented on the slaying after learning that Bacon, the hairstylist, was a fan.

“I’m devastated to hear of the passing of someone from Michigan who lived their life fearlessly and was taken too soon,” Starr wrote on Twitter. “Please help his family in this horrible time.”

Starr also donated $20,000 to Bacon’s family through a GoFundMe page set up to pay for his funeral services. The amount was the entire goal set by Bacon’s sister, Jennifer Bacon, who established the fundraiser. As of Tuesday, the total amount raised had reached over $37,000.

Karl Bacon and his wife, Pamela Bacon, said they have not yet processed the horrific details of what happened to their son.

“It’s gut-wrenching to hear the details and we are just beside ourselves,” Karl Bacon said. “Evil does exist and it touched us.”

Latunski, a one-time chemist, is a father of four who was estranged from his husband at the time of the killing. His husband, Jamie Arnold, spoke with WNEM on Dec. 31, telling the news station that he left the home where Kevin Bacon died in September because he could no longer tolerate Latunski’s habit of bringing strangers home for sex.

In a separate interview with NBC25 in Flint, Arnold said he had become concerned for his own safety.

“We’re not together anymore because he (Latunski) started saying some very unusual and unreasonable things, accusations,” Arnold told the Flint news station. “He claimed that the neighbor was polluting our water. He claimed that his family was not his family. That his biological family was not his, that his children were not his. He said I could no longer bathe in the house because it was toxic.”

Arnold said he last saw his husband on Christmas -- hours after police believe he killed Bacon.

“I talked to Mark on Christmas Day,” Arnold told WNEM. “I had some friends over, and I didn’t want him to be alone. So I invited him over Christmas Day if he wanted to come.

“He appeared to be normal. He never exhibited any signs that anything was wrong.”

Latunski’s attorney, Douglas E. Corwin Jr., has submitted an insanity defense on behalf of his client, pointing to Latunski’s extensive past mental health history. That history includes at least four mental health commitments, according to The Washington Post.

Latunski gave several different names to law enforcement and court officials following his arrest. The Detroit Free Press reported that he gave police officers who arrested him the name Wilk Olykos Vilkas.

Photo

Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP
Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, Mich., appears in court via video feed Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, for his arraignment, at which a judge ordered a mental competency evaluation. Latunski is charged with open murder and mutilation of a body in the death of Kevin Bacon, a 25-year-old hairdresser found slain, hung upside down and castrated Dec. 28, 2019, in Latunski’s home. Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, Mich., appears in court via video feed Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, for his arraignment, at which a judge ordered a mental competency evaluation. Latunski is charged with open murder and mutilation of a body in the death of Kevin Bacon, a 25-year-old hairdresser found slain, hung upside down and castrated Dec. 28, 2019, in Latunski’s home.
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MarkLatunski

Photo Credit: Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP
Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, Mich., appears in court via video feed Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, for his arraignment, at which a judge ordered a mental competency evaluation. Latunski is charged with open murder and mutilation of a body in the death of Kevin Bacon, a 25-year-old hairdresser found slain, hung upside down and castrated Dec. 28, 2019, in Latunski’s home. Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, Mich., appears in court via video feed Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, for his arraignment, at which a judge ordered a mental competency evaluation. Latunski is charged with open murder and mutilation of a body in the death of Kevin Bacon, a 25-year-old hairdresser found slain, hung upside down and castrated Dec. 28, 2019, in Latunski’s home.

Editor’s note: The following story contains extremely graphic details of a man’s death.

Bacon was reported missing by his family and friends when he vanished Dec. 24 after leaving to meet up with a man he met on the dating app Grindr, a network geared toward gay, bisexual and transgender people. His friend and roommate, Michelle Myers, wrote on Facebook Dec. 26 that he was last seen leaving her house at 5:23 p.m. Christmas Eve.

By 6:20 p.m., his cellphone had been turned off.

“It is unusual for him to turn his phone off when he’s out, and also not like him to not have his car with him when he meets people,” Myers wrote. “We have reason to believe that he is not safe and is trapped.

“Please, please keep an eye out while you are out and let the police know if you have any information or message me or his family. We just want him to be OK, safe, and alive.”

Bacon’s car was later found by his parents, abandoned at a Family Dollar, Myers wrote. His phone, identification, wallet and cash were inside the car.

The clothes he had been wearing were also in the car.


“He did not bring a change of clothes when he left, so right now he is either unclothed or in clothing they put him in,” Myers wrote.

Bacon’s phone showed that he used apps like Grindr, Tinder and Scruff to meet men.

“When he goes out it's never for more than a few hours, and if he stays the night somewhere, he tells someone,” Myers wrote.

NBC News reported that Bacon’s phone did send one text to his roommate that said he was having fun and might not make it home that night. He failed to show up at his parents’ home as expected Christmas morning, however, and they grew worried.

He was reported missing Christmas Day, the network reported.

“He did not bring a change of clothes when he left, so right now he is either unclothed or in clothing they put him in,” Myers wrote.

Bacon’s phone showed that he used apps like Grindr, Tinder and Scruff to meet men.

“When he goes out it's never for more than a few hours, and if he stays the night somewhere, he tells someone,” Myers wrote.

NBC News reported that Bacon’s phone did send one text to his roommate that said he was having fun and might not make it home that night. He failed to show up at his parents’ home as expected Christmas morning, however, and they grew worried.

He was reported missing Christmas Day, the network reported.


Friends and family organized search parties for Bacon in the days after his disappearance. On Dec. 28, four days after he vanished, his Grindr messages led state troopers and local police officers to Latunski’s doorstep.

First Lt. David Kaiser, with the Michigan State Police, said Bacon apparently went to Latunski’s home of his own accord.

“I believe the conversations contained things they wanted to happen,” Kaiser told the Free Press. “I don’t know exactly what acts were discussed, but I know they were sexual in nature.”

News reports and a court transcript offer the gruesome details of what law enforcement officers found after they knocked on Latunski’s door at 703 W. Tyrell Road near Morrice.

Detective Sgt. James Moore testified that officers went to Latunski’s home Dec. 28 for the purpose of conducting a welfare check on Bacon. According to the transcript, Latunski gave state troopers permission to search his home.

Bacon was found dead in a “secret room” in the basement, the Free Press reported. The court transcript indicates he was found hanging upside down from the ceiling.

Latunski was taken into custody, at which point he was interviewed by detectives.

“Under Miranda warnings, Mr. Latunski admitted to the murder of Mr. Bacon,” the court transcript reads. “Mr. Latunski stated he used a knife, stabbed him in the back one time, then slit his throat.”

Latunski told troopers he then wrapped rope around Bacon’s ankles and hung him from the rafters.

“In addition, Mr. Latunski admitted to using the knife to cut off Mr. Bacon’s testicles, which he later consumed,” the transcript reads.

Kaiser told the Lansing State Journal last week that investigators were looking into the possibility of previous victims, but said that, at that point, no evidence had been found to indicate Latunski was a serial killer.

The Bacon family last week addressed the details of what led up to their son’s death.

“I understand that what was released today shows Kevin had a dark side. Those who knew and loved Kevin did not know that side,” Karl Bacon said. “Those who knew him knew his good side. They knew he loved and cherished everybody he touched. He touched a lot of lives during his short life.

“It’s unfortunate that his dark side is what took his life, and he met the wrong people that way that took him too soon from us.”

Karl Bacon said he believes his son was not prepared for what awaited him at Latunski’s home.

“He had used his phone and his vehicle to get out of bad situations in the past,” he said. “So to leave it behind was very concerning to us and other people that knew him.”

“That wasn’t like him,” Pamela Bacon said.

The grieving father told MLive that Grindr employees were less than helpful when the investigation into his son’s disappearance began. He described them as “rather uncooperative.”

“They didn’t give us any info during the initial investigation,” he said about the dating app, while not mentioning the app’s name. “There’s no regulation of law on how they operate and how accountable they are to people’s activities on their apps.”

Karl Bacon urged users of all dating apps to always be aware of their surroundings and, if meeting someone met through an app, let family or friends know who that person is and where the meeting will take place.

Listen to Karl and Pamela Bacon speak about their son’s death below.

A Grindr spokesperson released a statement regarding Kevin Bacon’s slaying.

“We at Grindr are heartbroken to hear about this terrible tragedy, and share our condolences with Mr. Bacon’s family and friends,” the statement said. “While for privacy reasons we do not offer public comment on individual user accounts, we remain fully committed to working with law enforcement in the event of any investigation.”

Prior incidents of terror

Court records detail Latunski’s criminal history, as well as his history of mental illness. The State Journal reported that Latunski was charged in 2013 with custodial kidnapping after he took two of his four children without permission.

Latunski was found incompetent to stand trial and underwent eight months of outpatient treatment before being found fit for trial in January 2015, according to court records obtained by the newspaper. The charges were ultimately dismissed a few weeks later at the request of his ex-wife, Emily Latunski.

Arnold, Mark Latunski’s husband, told MLive that he was not aware of his husband’s mental health history until last summer, when Latunski was arrested for failing to pay child support to his ex-wife.

An Aug. 22 motion filed by Emily Latunski asked that the court suspend her ex-husband’s visitation with their four children, MLive reported. She cited previous diagnoses of major depression, paranoid schizophrenia and a personality disorder.

Mark Latunski was known to stop taking his medication, the court documents show.

“To my knowledge, I couldn’t force him to see a therapist or take medication," Arnold told MLive. “Never in a million years did I think he’d be capable of doing such a horrendous crime.”

The Free Press reported that Bacon’s fatal encounter with Latunski was not the first to raise alarms.

A 46-year-old man scaled a fence to escape Latunski’s home Oct. 10 after becoming spooked during a sexual encounter. On Nov. 25, neighbors saw a man wearing nothing but a leather kilt running down the street in terror, with Latunski chasing him.

In the November incident, the man in the kilt told responding officers he had been chained in Latunski’s basement for a consensual encounter when he became scared. Latunski told police he chased the man because he wanted his $300 kilt back, the newspaper reported.

Neither man filed charges against Latunski and the man in October spent several more days with Latunski.

Kaiser pointed out that bondage during sex is not illegal.

“Sometimes people in these relationships are embarrassed or ... maybe they have a professional career and don’t want their private life interfering with their professional career, so they’re very reluctant to share anything with law enforcement,” Kaiser told the Free Press.

Leon Neal/Getty Images
The Grindr app logo is seen among other dating apps on a cellphone screen. Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, Mich., is charged with murder and mutilation of a body in the Dec. 24, 2019, death of a man he met on Grindr. (
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Grindr

Photo Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images
The Grindr app logo is seen among other dating apps on a cellphone screen. Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, Mich., is charged with murder and mutilation of a body in the Dec. 24, 2019, death of a man he met on Grindr. (

The Detroit paper also reported that Latunski appears to be linked to a gay escort site, Rent.Men, which reporters stumbled upon when doing an image search for Latunski. Nude photos and his Olykos alias appear to be attached to that site.

WILX in Lansing and WNEM both spoke to a neighbor, Michael Parks, who witnessed the Nov. 25 incident in which Latunski’s 29-year-old sex partner fled his home. Parks told the news station the man was covered in blood.

“This kid has his face covered with a rag and a phone to his ear, and he’s, like, ‘Help me! Help me!’ He’s after me!’ (He was) just scared to death out of his mind,” Parks said.

He said as the young man stood on his porch, Latunski drove up in an SUV. When he got out of the vehicle, he was also wearing nothing but a leather kilt, despite temperatures of around 40 degrees that day. Lutunski ultimately drove back to his own home a few doors down before police arrived.

Parks said the young man who sought his help in November resembled Bacon, down to his body type and purple hair.

“Maybe he had a certain type?” Parks hypothesized. “I don’t know. It’s creepy to think about.”

Parks told WILX he and his family moved to Morrice, a quiet rural village of about 900 people, to get away from crime.

“We’re all just farmers and deer hunters, so it’s quiet," Parks told the news station. “We moved from Atlanta and I thought we were going to get away from the crowds and all this kind of stuff, but I guess you never know who your neighbors are.”

Arnold emphasized to WNEM that he has been fully cooperative with the police investigation. In his interview with MLive, he said he never believed his husband capable of the crimes of which he stands accused.

“In hindsight, it’s easy to sit back and speculate but at the time you’re going through it, there are emotions and feelings involved. You don’t want to think that the person you fell in love with is some crazy homicidal maniac,” Arnold told the news site. “I pray that God is there for Kevin Bacon’s family in their time of need and that he helps us all get through this, one day at a time."

Bacon’s family said they believe Latunski may try using his mental health problems to escape justice for the slaying.

“He has used the mental health card to get out of situations in the past and he’s attempting to use it again,” Karl Bacon told MLive. “I would like to see him locked up for the rest of his life in some form or another.”

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  • In a 171 page submission made to the U.S. Senate on Monday, President Donald Trump's legal team said the impeachment charges submitted by the House do not identify any violations of criminal law and should immediately by dismissed by Senators. 'The articles should be rejected and the President should immediately be acquitted,' the legal brief states, arguing the charge of 'abuse of power' does not state an impeachable offense - even though that charge was drawn up by the House in 1974 against President Richard Nixon. 'House Democrats’ novel conception of “abuse of power” as a supposedly impeachable offense is constitutionally defective,' the Trump brief states. 'It supplants the Framers’ standard of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” with a made-up theory that the President can be impeached and removed from office under an amorphous and undefined standard of 'abuse of power.'' On the question of whether President Trump held back military aid for Ukraine while pressing the Ukraine government to announce investigations related to Joe Biden and his son, the White House legal team says there is no evidence to support those claims. 'The most important piece of evidence demonstrating the President’s innocence is the transcript of the President’s July 25 telephone call with President Zelenskyy,' the trial brief states, referring to the call which President Trump has repeatedly said was 'perfect.' 'President Trump did not even mention the security assistance on the call, and he certainly did not make any connection between the assistance and any investigation,' the White House legal team states, without mentioning that a hold was put on the aid to Ukraine 90 minutes after that phone call concluded on July 25, 2019. From the White House on Monday, the President tweeted out his familiar opposition to the impeachment trial, continuing to characterize the House impeachment process as unfair. Minutes after the White House filed its trial brief, Democrats in the House responded to his initial 'answer' to the Senate trial summons. 'The House denies each and every allegation and defense in the Preamble to the Answer,' the nine page response began. 'He used Presidential powers to pressure a vulnerable foreign partner to interfere in our elections for his own benefit,' referring to the President's interactions with the leader of Ukraine.  'President Trump maintains that the Senate cannot remove him even if the House proves every claim in the Articles of impeachment,” the House reply added. “That is a chilling assertion. It is also dead wrong,' the House concluded.
  • In the first legal submissions of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, Democrats on Saturday said the President had violated his oath and should be removed from office, while the White House denounced the impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress as 'constitutionally invalid.' In their 111 page legal brief, Democrats said the President had abused his power by trying to pressure the government of Ukraine into announcing investigations against Joe Biden, all in an effort to help Mr. Trump's 2020 re-election bid. Democrats said the very public effort by President Trump to block top White House officials from testifying before Congress - as they defied subpoenas for the impeachment investigation - was a violation of the Constitution. 'In exercising its responsibility to investigate and consider the impeachment of a President of the United States, the House is constitutionally entitled to the relevant information from the Executive Branch concerning the President's misconduct,' Democrats wrote. 'The Framers, the courts, and past Presidents have recognized that honoring Congress’s right to information in an impeachment investigation is a critical safeguard in our system of divided powers,' that trial brief added. In their initial answer to the Senate summons for this impeachment trial, the White House delivered a seven page legal rebuke to Democrats. 'The Articles of Impeachment are constitutionally invalid on their face. They fail to allege any crime of violation of law whatsoever,' wrote White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and the President's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow. 'In the end, this entire process is nothing more than a dangerous attack on the American people themselves and their fundamental right to vote,' the President's legal team concluded. 'The notion that President Trump obstructed Congress is absurd,' said sources close to the President's legal team. The White House has until 12 noon on Monday to file a trial brief to the Senate; Democrats would have until 12 noon on Tuesday to file a rebuttal. The Senate will reconvene as a court of impeachment on Tuesday afternoon. Senators must still approve rules to govern the first phase of the trial. Senate Republicans have said they would base that rules plan on one approved by the Senate for the start of the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999. That rules resolution gave each side 24 hours to make their opening arguments - which would likely be split up over three or more days on the Senate floor. Like 1999, it's possible the Senate may also take an early vote to dismiss the case entirely, an outcome preferred by President Trump.
  • With opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump expected to begin in coming days, the White House on Friday unveiled a team of legal experts including former Whitewater prosecutor Ken Starr, and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz to defend the President on Capitol Hill. 'President Trump has done nothing wrong and is confident that this team will defend him, the voters, and our democracy from this baseless, illegitimate impeachment,' White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a written statement. 'The President looks forward to the end of this partisan and unconstitutional impeachment,' Grisham added. The Trump legal team members will join White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and the President's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow in defending Mr. Trump. Here is the list provided by the White House: + Ken Starr, Former Independent Counsel, Whitewater investigation + Alan Dershowitz, Professor of Law, Emeritus, Harvard Law School + Pam Bondi, Former Attorney General of Florida + Jane Serene Raskin, Private Counsel to President Donald J. Trump + Eric D. Herschmann, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres LLP + Robert Ray, Former Independent Counsel. While Dershowitz is a famous legal mind, Starr is the more political figure, given that his Whitewater investigation launched the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1999. And his appearance immediately drew the evil eye from allies of the former President. Democrats mocked the choices. 'If President Trump is looking to turn the impeachment trial into a reality TV show, he chose the right team with Alan Dershowitz, Ken Starr, and Robert Ray,' said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). But this is the U.S. Senate, not the People's Court.  'Well, that's their choice,' Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said of Starr during a Friday interview on MSNBC. 'But it's a weird choice.' The choice of Starr also drew a profane response from Monica Lewinsky, who was the focus of Starr's investigation. The Senate impeachment trial resumes on Tuesday with votes expected on the rules to govern the initial phase of the Trump impeachment trial.
  • President Donald Trump said Thursday that he did not know Lev Parnas, an indicted business associate of Rudy Giuliani who claims the President knew all about Giuliani's efforts to oust the U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine, as well as behind the scenes work to get Ukraine to announce investigations related to Joe Biden, in order to help Mr. Trump's 2020 re-election bid. 'I don't know him. I don't know Parnas,' the President said a number of times to reporters at the White House. 'I don't know him at all. Don't know what he's about,' Mr. Trump added. But in interviews with MSNBC, CNN, and the New York Times, Parnas has said the President is not telling the truth about his efforts to put pressure on the leader of Ukraine. Documents and electronic messages provided by Parnas to the House Intelligence Committee in recent days included a letter that Rudy Giuliani wrote in May 2019, asking for a meeting with the newly-elected Ukraine President, in which Giuliani said he was 'private counsel to President Donald J. Trump.' 'I don't know anything about the letter,' President Trump said, praising Giuliani's time as mayor but not addressing what he did for Trump in Ukraine with Parnas and others. Also denying any knowledge of Parnas's claims was Vice President Mike Pence. 'I don’t know the guy,' Pence told reporters during a visit to Florida on Thursday, as the Vice President said the claim by Parnas that Pence knew about pressure being put on the Ukraine leader was 'completely false.' Democrats used those denials to question why Pence's office has refused to declassify further impeachment answers from a State Department official detailed to his office. Some Democrats have raised the possibility of asking to hear testimony from Parnas in the Trump impeachment trial, though any request for witness testimony must get a majority of Senators. As of now, most Republicans remain hotly opposed to any new witnesses, arguing the Senate should not have to find evidence which the House did not uncover. 'That's not our job,' said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). 'Our job is to look at what they brought us and decide if that rises to the level of impeachment.' Perdue was part of the ceremonial first day of the Senate impeachment trial - just the third time a President has faced such a challenge in U.S. history. Opening arguments will take place next Tuesday.