Convicted Murderer of Sharon Hammack Dies from Natural Causes While Incarcerated in Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The man convicted of the 1996 murder of a Kent County woman died from natural causes on Thursday while incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), a spokesperson for the MDOC confirmed. Gary Artman was convicted of killing and sexually assaulting Sharon Hammack after DNA linked him to the murder.

Artman was sentenced to life without parole for Hammack’s murder and a consecutive life sentence for rape. During the trial, the prosecutor emphasized the intent to kill and the overwhelming evidence against Artman.

Hammack’s family expressed relief and closure with the conviction, although they still feel there is more the suspect is withholding. Authorities were able to solve the case using advancements in forensic genetic genealogy, leading to Artman’s arrest in Mississippi earlier this year.

This was one of 11 unsolved murders in Kent County in 1996. The victim was found sexually assaulted and strangled to death, with the additional tragedy of being four weeks pregnant at the time of her death. Artman’s extensive criminal history, including previous convictions for criminal sexual assault, was also noted.

The 64-year-old Artman was also facing trial for a 2006 murder in Maryland. MDOC confirmed that Artman died of natural causes while incarcerated.