341 N.W.2d 143 (Mich.App. 1983), 53160, People v. Williams

Docket Nº:Docket No. 53160.
Citation:341 N.W.2d 143, 129 Mich.App. 362
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:PEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. John Lester WILLIAMS, Jr., Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:[129 Mich.App. 364] Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Louis J. Caruso, Sol. Gen., George B. Mullison, Pros. Atty., and Thomas J. Rasdale, Asst. Pros. Atty., for the People. James R. Neuhard, State Appellate Defender by Mardi Crawford, Detroit, for defendant-appellant on appeal.
Judge Panel:Before MAHER, P.J., and R.B. BURNS and MARUTIAK, [*] JJ.
Case Date:September 01, 1983
Court:Court of Appeals of Michigan
 
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Page 143

341 N.W.2d 143 (Mich.App. 1983)

129 Mich.App. 362

PEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

John Lester WILLIAMS, Jr., Defendant-Appellant.

Docket No. 53160.

Court of Appeals of Michigan.

September 1, 1983

Submitted Feb. 9, 1983.

Released for Publication Dec. 15, 1983.

Page 144

[129 Mich.App. 364] Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Louis J. Caruso, Sol. Gen., George B. Mullison, Pros. Atty., and Thomas J. Rasdale, Asst. Pros. Atty., for the People.

James R. Neuhard, State Appellate Defender by Mardi Crawford, Detroit, for defendant-appellant on appeal.

Page 145

Before MAHER, P.J., and R.B. BURNS and MARUTIAK, [*] JJ.

PER CURIAM.

Defendant was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder, M.C.L. Sec. 750.316; M.S.A. Sec. 28.548, and was sentenced to a mandatory term of life in prison. He now appeals by leave granted.

On April 15, 1978, Frances Brattler, a 79-year-old woman, was found dead in her home in Bay City. Thinking that she had died of natural causes, Ms. Brattler's son-in-law, who had discovered the body, arranged to have the body taken to a funeral home. While preparing the body for the funeral, the mortician noticed a wound in the chest and notified the medical examiner. After an autopsy, it was determined that the cause of death was a stab wound to the chest and aorta. It was later discovered that Ms. Brattler was killed on April 13, 1978.

[129 Mich.App. 365] Various pieces of evidence presented at trial implicated defendant in the crime. Several persons testified that they had seen defendant driving Ms. Brattler's car on the days following her death. His fingerprints were also found on the outside of the car. Additional fingerprints were found in the kitchen and dining room of Ms. Brattler's home. A tape recording was played to the jury in which defendant described to the police how he committed the crime. In that confession, the defendant told the police the location of the murder weapon, a knife. The knife was later admitted into evidence. Testimony was received indicating that the blood found on the knife matched that of the victim and that the fibers clinging to the knife were consistent with those taken from the victim's robe.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty of first-degree murder in the perpetration of a willful, deliberate and premeditated killing. Defendant moved for a new trial or judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The court denied the motion.

On appeal, defendant raises seven issues, one of which is meritorious.

Defendant argues that the people failed to establish the corpus delicti of first-degree murder aliunde the defendant's confession. It has long been the law in this state that the people must...

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