Alger County Prosecuting Attorney retires after 17 years of service

Published: Mar. 29, 2019 at 3:01 PM EDT
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The Alger County Prosecuting Attorney, Karen Bahrman, is retiring after 17 years of service.

With laughter, Bahrman used her last day to reflect on what brought her to this position back in 2002.

"I started in Marquette and then went to Delta County, but I lived in Alger County almost the entire time so when there was vacancy here it seemed like a very great opportunity for me," said Bahrman.

An opportunity that lead her to play a huge role in the 2006 Thomas Richardson Murder case.

"It pretty much took two years of my life."

This high profile case eventually lead Richardson to life in prison with no chance of parole, for killing his wife by pushing her off a 140-foot cliff at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

"It took eight weeks of trial and a changed venue, two offense attorneys, [NBC's] "Dateline" covered it. There was more than the 135 witnesses, about 100 pretrial motions...\so yeah, it was big," Bahrman recalled.

Bahrman says through all her cases over the past 17 years, big or small, she has seen so much change in the position itself.

"Body cameras and such, that always undermines the cases we'll always have where nothing is recorded, so that makes the prosecuting of those cases more difficult."

The Alger County Sheriff’s Department, who worked closely with Bahrman over the years, is sad to see such a career prosecutor go.

"She is the corner post of what we do here," said Lieutenant Sheila Peters "She has always had our back. If we have a question she was always available, day or night, she will answer, which means a lot to us. She will be missed."

As Bahrman says goodbye to the position, she does leave advice for the person who will be filling her shoes as prosecuting attorney.

"Pay attention to the whole 'separation of powers' thing," said Bahrman. "Prosecutors are a part of the executive branch, and yes, we work side by side with the judicial branch, but we need to make sure they stay in their own lane and not wander into ours."

Bahrman wants to thank the community, local authorities and her staff for their support over the years.

She will use her retirement to saddle up in endurance riding with horses in for nationwide races.