An initial hearing was held Wednesday for Michael Griffin, the Bloomington man charged with the murder of Indiana University Professor Don Belton. Griffin pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, which Judge Kenneth Todd said would bring a sentence of anywhere between 35 to 65 years in prison.
During questioning before his arrest, Griffin told police Belton had sexually assaulted him at a Christmas party two days before the Sunday murder. Griffin said he confronted Belton at his home in the 900 block of Madison Street in Bloomington before stabbing him to death. Griffin had brought a ten-inch combat knife and a change of clothes with him to Belton’s, but police are calling it a “crime of passion” due to the multiple stab wounds.
Griffin’s girlfriend, Jessica Greiwe informed the police of her boyfriend’s alleged involvement of the murder. He is being held without bail at the Monroe County Courthouse.
A pretrial diversion has been set for March 1st.
Affidavit: Griffin Confesses to Belton Murder, Hearing Set For Wed
An initial hearing will be held Wednesday afternoon for 25-year-old Michael Griffin, the man charged with the murder of Indiana University Professor Don Belton. Belton was found dead at his residence early Monday morning from multiple stab wounds. Griffin will enter a plea at the hearing and a judge will determine his bail.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Jessica Greiwe, Griffin’s girlfriend, called the Bloomington Police Department Monday and told them Griffin had confessed the crime to her. While being interviewed, Griffin told the police that Belton had sexually assaulted him at a party on Christmas Day.
Griffin said he had gone to Belton’s with a change of clothes in his car and a ten-inch knife he had bought before going to Iraq with the Marine Corps. Griffin said Belton refused to admit the alleged sexual incidents were a mistake, prompting the fatal attack. Griffin then changed into clean clothes and threw the soiled clothes in a dumpster. Belton was a professor of English and Creative Writing.
Griffin’s 2:30 hearing will be held Wednesday at the Monroe County Justice Building. A memorial service for Belton is being planned for 5 PM Friday in Bloomington’s downtown square.
IU Professor Stabbed To Death in Home, Diary Leads to Arrest
Indiana University English Professor Don Belton was supposed to be in Hawaii Sunday when a friend, who was house sitting for Belton, discovered his body at his home in the 900 block of South Madison Street. He died from multiple stab wounds.
Lieutenant David Drake with the Bloomington Police Department says Belton’s journal entries led them to suspect Michael Griffin, a 25-year-old Bloomington man.
“During the search of the victim’s residence, we located a lot of journals and diary type items. One of the journals indicated—mentioned the name of Michael Griffin, and that was one of the last items where there was an entry in a journal,” Drake said. “So we started to make attempts to locate Mr. Griffin just to see if he could shed any light on what may have happened. While we were doing this, we received further information that indicated to us that Mr. Griffin might be a potential suspect, rather than just an information source.”
Drake says the journal entry left no clues about a conflict between Griffin and Belton, but the BPD then obtained a warrant to search Griffin’s home. There they found a 10-inch combat knife spotted with blood, which they suspected was the murder weapon.
Griffin was then interviewed and arrested a short time later on murder charges.
During questioning, Griffin told officers he met Belton a few weeks ago at a restaurant. Belton then attended a Christmas party at Griffin’s home. Drake says the suspect indicated a motive during the police interview.
“As far as a motive for the attack, without getting into specifics, the two men were acquainted and Mr. Griffin was upset about an incident that happened between him and Mr. Belton on Christmas Day,” Drake said.
Belton taught in the IU Department of English and was a faculty member of the Creative Writing Program. He specialized in African-American fiction and non-fiction, often focusing on literary representations of black masculinity.
IU Provost Karen Hanson says the English Department is planning a memorial and the campuses counseling services will be stepped up in the coming days.