Lakebottom homicide suspect admitted to fatal stabbing, said it was self defense

The man accused of fatally stabbing a Lakebottom resident inside his home March 12 admitted to police he killed Michael Joseph Crowley, but said it was done in self defense, a detective testified today.

Mark Merritt, 29, pleaded not guilty in Columbus Recorder’s Court. Senior Judge Michael Cielinski ordered Merritt held without bond.

Columbus police found Crowley, 53, dead in his 18th Street home about 7 p.m. March 13 after his sister asked officers to check on him. They found his body in the kitchen with multiple stab wounds, investigators said.

According to police reports, Crowley was killed sometime after 5:30 p.m. March 12.

Crowley’s body was sent to Atlanta for an autopsy. Muscogee County Coroner Bill Thrower said autopsy results revealed that Crowley died of multiple stab wound injuries.