Mark Wayne Williams, a man better known as ‘Batman’ in the Northern Michigan town of Petoskey, pleaded not guilty today to a felony charge of obstructing police in an investigation. The charge stems from a September incident in which police arrived at an auto accident where one of the drivers had fled the scene, and were using the help of a canine to track down the offending vehicle. By the time they got there, cops say Williams was already on the scene, dressed as Batman. According to State Police Sgt. Jeff Gorno, “When we arrived, (Williams) was at the scene in his Batman outfit. He wouldn’t clear the scene and we had a canine out there and he kept screwing up the scent.” Gorno added, “We didn’t want the dog to track Batman instead of the accident scene, and he was getting in the way of officers who had a job to do.” Police confiscated Williams’ costume and booked him into Emmet County Jail.
This wasn’t Williams’ first arrest in the Batman costume. In May of last year, Williams pleaded guilty to one count of attempted resisting and obstructing a police officer. He was sentenced to six months probation, one of the conditions being that cannot wear costumes during that time. That time, he’d been spotted hanging off the wall of a downtown building and was later found to be in possession of a baton, a can of pepper spray and a pair of sand-filled gloves. According to Williams’ Facebook page, he was “ in the midst of a chase across the rooftops to stop the devious actions of some local hoodlums.”
Because he is a habitual offender — according to his own Facebook page this is his fourth arrest — Williams could face 15 years in prison. Since his arrest, Williams has received an outpouring of support. In a comment that received three likes, a fan wrote “The World is better with you in it, Batman.” Another woman writes, “This is ridiculous. We all know you did nothing wrong. They need to leave you alone. I have no faith in the police, or the court system. I hope you have a good lawyer, and an honest jury!” Williams’ lawyer is Petoskey criminal defender Bryan Klawuhn. After last year’s case against his client wrapped up, Klawuhn told Petoskey News, ”We are very happy that the Batman saga is coming to a close. It was overblown from the beginning.” The Batman saga, it appears, is just beginning, with a jury trial on the horizon.