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An unfired bullet discovered last year in the Clinton Township, Michigan, building that once housed Comics World will be tested to see whether it’s connected to the 1990 murder of co-owner Barbara George.
Her husband Michael George was twice tried and twice convicted — first in 2008 and then in 2011 — in the fatal shooting, which prosecutors claim he staged to look like a robbery so he could collect money from an insurance policy and a shared estate, and start over with another woman. George, now 53, is serving life in prison without parole.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the bullet was found in February 2013 by an employee of the company that manages a building while he was cleaning the backroom where Barbara George was shot nearly 23 years earlier. It was turned over to township police, leading defense attorney Joseph Kosmala to file a motion in January for the bullet to be tested for ballistics, fingerprints and DNA (there was a filing delay because of a miscommunication between Kosmala and Michael George’s appellate attorney). Macomb County Circuit Judge Mary Chrzanowski granted that motion last week.
“It should be tested to lay to rest any questions,” Kosmala told The Macomb Daily. “A man’s life is at stake so everything has to be looked at carefully. This could be a classic case of newly discovered evidence (forcing a new trial), or it may not. If it turns out to have competent evidentiary value we will have to bring it to the court’s attention.”
While prosecutors aren’t opposed to testing, they say there no shell casings at the crime scene for comparison, and not enough shrapnel from the bullet that killed Barbara George for a comparison. However, they contend the location of the bullet incriminates Michael George, as only the store owners had access to that area.
But if, as the management company employee suggests, the bullet fell from the ceiling when tiles were replaced, Kosmala suggests the discovery could raise an alternate theory to the crime: that Barbara George’s killer accessed the backroom of Comics World through the ceiling of the vacant store next door.
The state Court of Appeals in May 2013 denied George’s appeal for a new trial; the state Supreme Court on Friday rejected his application without comment.