Charged with murder
Hullihen’s parents speak out about shootings, granddaughter’s reaction
REED CITY — Blake Hullihen’s 6-year-old daughter slept in her father’s coat on Thursday night. On Friday morning, she returned to class at Harrison’s Larson Elementary, where she wrote in her journal about the day her father killed her mother, Gabrielle Woodworth, and her mother’s boyfriend, Donald C. Feneis.
“They have these booklets the kids have to write a story in every day,” said Hullihen’s mother, Regina Hullihen. “She wrote down, ‘My dad went to jail because he shot my mom so I wouldn’t have to go to her house anymore.’ And, ‘I miss my dad.’”
Blake Hullihen’s father, Dan, said the girl is coping with the news of her mother’s death and her father’s detainment. He knows the gravity of the situation has not yet set in.
“She understands that he’s in jail for a while, but she thinks he’s coming home,” Dan Hullihen said. “But I don’t think he’s going to, not with stuff like this. ... I don’t have any faith in that. I don’t have any faith in the justice system anymore.”
Blake Hullihen, 26, was arraigned on Friday in Osceola County’s 77th District Court on two counts of open homicide and two counts of felony firearm possession. Court documents list a .45-caliber pistol as the weapon he used to kill Feneis and Woodworth, both of Sears.
Michigan State Police say the killings happened at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday outside Chuck’s Corners Citgo Convenience Store in Marion near the intersection of M-115 and M-66.
Dan Hullihen said he believes Blake went to the gas station to meet Woodworth after an explosive phone conversation about custody of their daughter. Blake wanted more time with her, even though primary custody of the girl was granted to Woodworth on Monday by Clare County’s family court.
Hullihen fled the scene and met with his father, immediately explaining what he had done.
“I started shaking uncontrollably,” Dan Hullihen said of the moment his son told him about the shooting. “I went in and told Regina, ‘Blake did something tragic,’ and told her what happened. I went back out to my son and told him, ‘Blake, this is gonna be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m going to have to turn you in.’ He said, ‘I know, dad.’”
Dan Hullihen, who is a friend of Clare County Sheriff John Wilson, took his son to Wilson’s home in Harrison, where Blake turned himself in. He later was taken to Osceola County Jail.
According to court records obtained by the Pioneer from Clare County’s 55th Circuit Court, Blake Hullihen and Woodworth attended a family court hearing on Nov. 22, during which Hullihen was attempting to gain more parenting time with his daughter. An opinion filed Monday shows that Hullihen spent a large amount of parenting time with the girl this summer, during which time she suffered burns and dental problems.
Dan Hullihen claimed the alleged neglect was not due to his son’s parenting abilities, calling Blake an “excellent father,” whose daughter “was his whole life.” He alleges that his son was victimized by the family court system.
“I’m losing my son, and this all could have been avoided if a judge would have just looked at the evidence,” Dan Hullihen said.
Hullihen is tentatively scheduled for a pretrial conference at 9:15 a.m. Thursday and a preliminary exam at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 22 in Osceola County’s 77th District Court.
Funeral services for Feneis were held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Evart, with Father Joe Fix officiating.