Judge sends road rage beating suspect back to jail

Judge said Christian Hillman was too much a threat to remain free on bond

Christian Hillman
Christian Hillman (right) sits next to his attorney, Michael Bartish (left) in court during a preliminary hearing on Oct. 26, 2016.


GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — As the family of a 64-year-old Caledonia man waits for him to die, the 18-year-old who allegedly beat him in a road rage incident is expected to face murder charges, according to the prosecutor.

But for now, because the victim is alive, Christian Hillman has been ordered to stand trial for assault with intent to commit great bodily harm. A judge also sent him back to jail following a Wednesday preliminary hearing, deciding he was too much of a threat to be walking free, and quadrupled his bond from $20,000 to $100,000.

An Oct. 26, 2016 mug shot of Christian William Hillman.
An Oct. 26, 2016 mug shot of Christian William Hillman.

Hillman, of Ada, is accused of beating William McFarlan in the 6100 of Whitneyville Avenue in Caledonia Township on Sept. 29.

In court Wednesday, Hillman’s friend, 18-year-old Noah Bulkowski, said he found Hillman standing over McFarlan as he lay in the road, the victim’s pants around his ankles. Bulkowski said he saw Hillman kick the unconscious man and say, “That’s what you get for f****** with me.”

Bulkowski said Hillman claimed he acted in self-defense because McFarlan put his hands around his neck and was “driving like a jack***.”

A man driving by said he saw Hillman kick the man on the ground two or three times and then use an obscene taunt.

Another friend said he later saw Hillman at his home and that the suspect had blood on his hands, which the friends photographed. The second friend said Hillman claimed he acted in self-defense, but also said the assault “felt so good.”

Undated courtesy photo of William McFarlan (Courtesy GoFundMe.com/HelpMcFarlanFamily)
Undated courtesy photo of William McFarlan (Courtesy GoFundMe.com/HelpMcFarlanFamily)

An emergency room doctor said McFarlan sustained brain damage and fractured ribs. He was left in a coma and near death.

Judge Sara Smolenski decided there was more than enough evidence to bind Hillman over to circuit court for trial.

“I’m really, really, really concerned about Mr. Hillman being free and on his own,” Smolenski said. “And probably if there wasn’t testimony about a man’s being down on the ground being hit, I’d feel differently.”

Hillman’s attorney, Michael Bartish, plans to argue self-defense. He pointed out there is no evidence about what happened in the moments leading up to the alleged assault.

McFarlan remains in hospice care. Prosecutors say he has only days left to live.

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Online:

GoFundMe page for the McFarlan family