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December 15, 2015 -- Michael Scott Freeland, 57, was found beaten to death with a dumbbell at his Detroit-area home in April, 2015. The home was set on fire after the victim had been killed.

Facing a February trial for the crimes are siblings Demonte Easterling, 20, and Bria Blackmon, 20. The couple are charged with charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy for the beating death.

Reports say Freeland formed a personal relationship with Blackman after the two met via the Internet.

Robbery was the apparent motive. After the crime the couple used their victim's credit cards for a shopping spree.

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A Feb. 9 trial is set for a Harper Woods man and his stepsister from Madison Heights who are charged in the beating death of a Sterling Heights man whose body was found after a fire at his home.

Demonte Easterling and Bria Corrine-Janelle Blackmon, both 20, are charged with first-degree premeditated murder, felony murder and armed robbery charges in Macomb County Circuit Court.

They are charged in the March death of Michael Scott Freeland, a 57-year-old retiree, at his home in the 37000 block of Andrew Drive. He was found beaten in the head with items from within the home, police said.

According to court records, Blackmon was found competent after a forensic evaluation. Culpability was not an issue, the records state.

The defendants had pretrial hearings today in circuit court. They remain in the county jail.

Police had said the motive for the assault was robbery, with the suspects taking Freeland’s credit cards.

Police said they found evidence from Freeland's computer and cell phone identifying Blackmon. She and Freeland met on Craigslist and established a dating relationship. They dated a week or so before the robbery plan was hatched, police had said.

Blackmon later admitted to robbing Freeland, leading to his death, police had said.

More racist hate crime reports at [click here]

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