DETROIT (AP) — Adults testifying in criminal cases can't be accompanied by a support animal, the Michigan appeals court said, throwing out the conviction of a man in an Ingham County case.
Child witnesses sometimes have therapy dogs nearby to ease the anxiety of appearing in court. But the appeals court said the practice doesn't apply to "fully abled" adults, unless the Legislature or Michigan Supreme Court allows it.
A dog named Preston and his handler were present when a woman testified against Dakota Shorter in a criminal sexual conduct trial. The prosecutor said Preston would help the woman control her emotions.
"We would not approve its use where the basis for it was simply that doing so will allow the witness to be 'more comfortable' or because 'this is something she wants,'" Judges Douglas Shapiro and Michael Kelly said in a 2-1 opinion dated Thursday and released Friday. They said it doesn't help the "truth-finding process."
The appeals court threw out Shorter's conviction and 30-month prison sentence, and ordered a new trial.
2 men to stand trial in slaying of 16-year-old West Mich. girl
GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A West Michigan man has been ordered to stand trial in the slaying of a 16-year-old girl who previously had accused him of sexual assault.
Defense attorneys on Friday waived the preliminary examinations for Quinn James, 42, and his co-defendant, Gerald Bennett, 58.
James of Wyoming is charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping. Bennett of Detroit is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
Mujey Dumbuya's partially clothed body was found in January in woods in Kalamazoo, about 50 miles southeast of her Grand Rapids home. She had been strangled.
James also is accused of sexually assaulting Mujey last summer. He was free on bond in the rape case when her body was found.
Man found dead in lake shot multiple times, police say
PONTIAC (AP) — A 20-year-old man whose body was found in a suburban Detroit lake was shot multiple times.
The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said Friday that the death is being investigated as a homicide.
Deputies responded Thursday to Osmun Lake in Pontiac after bloody clothing with a possible bullet hole was found at Stanley Park. They also saw tire tracks and crash damage, as well as drag marks and a trail of blood. The blood trail ended on a dock and divers found the Pontiac man's body.
The Sheriff's Office said the man was reported missing after recently being seen getting into a black car. Parts of that car, which had been reported stolen, were found at Stanley Park and the car itself was found in Scott Lake in nearby Waterford Township.
Parents charged after girl finds gun in closet, wounds self
FLINT (AP) — Two Michigan parents are facing charges after one of their 4-year-old twin daughters shot and wounded herself with a loaded handgun she found in a toy closet.
The Genesee County Prosecutor's Office said Eric Brown, 32, and Alicia Brown, 31, were at home in Flint on Monday when the shooting happened. The bullet struck the girl's left index finger, which authorities said had to be amputated due to the wound.
The Browns are each charged with second-degree child abuse, obstruction of justice and lying to police during the investigation.
Investigators said the Browns routinely kept handguns and rifles in the same closet where children's toys were kept.
Prosecutor David Leyton said in a statement that it's a "terrible, tragic and preventable incident."