Letter from Eric Smith
I’m proud to highlight the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Cold Case Team.
I undertook this initiative in response to appeals from the families and loved ones of the victims of murders in this county, who might feel that the System has passed them by. As the People’s advocate, I won’t let that happen.
This Team sends a simple message to criminals: You can run from the law. But you can’t hide. The chase doesn’t end until we get you.
We’re fortunate in Macomb County: the detectives in our police departments, and in our State Police and Sheriff’s department, are some of the best in the United States. It’s my privilege to work daily with these officers who take their work home with them and never let cases go. Now, by putting them together with my most dedicated and talented prosecutors, we’re taking down these fugitives from justice. And we’re getting some measure of closure for the devastated families of these victims.
We’re combing through old files and re-examining every unsolved murder in the county. We’ve assembled experts here, and we’re tracking down leads every day. We’re finding out that there’s really no limit to what a fresh set of eyes might see in a case file.
You’ll find a few of the more complex cases highlighted on this web page. Take a moment to see what our fine detectives and prosecutors are accomplishing.
Together, we’re finding something out: in Macomb County, no case is a cold case. Every case is red hot until the perpetrator is arrested and convicted.
Eric J. Smith
Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney
1. People vs. Michael GeorgeCrimes: First-degree murder and felony firearm Police Department: Clinton Township (Lt. Craig Keith) Date of crime: July 13, 1990 Charges issued: August 4, 2007 Status of case: Defendant was convicted by a jury of all counts, including first degree murder on October 11, 2011. In one of Macomb County's oldest unsolved cases, Barbara George suffered a fatal gunshot wound to her head on July 13, 1990. Although her husband, Michael George, was the main suspect, insufficient evidence existed to charge him with the crime. The Clinton Township Police Department, led by Lt. Craig Keith, re-opened the case in 2007. The detectives interviewed 20 new witnesses and re-interviewed 70 witnesses. Their investigation revealed that the defendant was present at the store at the time of the fatal shooting, and that his alibi defense (his claim that he was sleeping at his mother's Oakland County home) was false. The jurors convicted the defendant of first-degree murder, felony firearm, and insurance fraud on March 24, 2008. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on June 20, 2008. This case was featured in a two-hour DATELINE NBC special on May 9, 2008. Unfortunately, after the trial and before sentencing, several police reports were discovered that were not turned over to Mr. George's defense team. The courts ruled these reports were considered potentially exculpatory for the defendant and he was given a new trial. On October 11, 2011, after a 6 week trial, Mr. George was convicted by a jury of First Degree Murder for a second time. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on November 21, 2011. This trial will be featured in a special two hour episode on NBC's Dateline program in May of 2012
2. People vs. Anthony DeleonCrimes: First-degree murder; felony firearm Police Department: Shelby Township (Det. Terry Hogan) Year of crimes: 1998 Charges filed: 2005 Trial judge: Richard Caretti Outcome of case: The jury convicted the defendant as charged- Life without parole. In 1998, the defendant, Anthony Deleon, murdered his wife, Karen, in their Shelby Township marital home, staging the act as a suicide. Seven years later, we charged Deleon with first-degree murder, and the jury convicted him as charged. The case originally was reviewed by our office in 1998, and no charges were issued. No new evidence surfaced between 1998 and 2005, but a “new look” at the facts by our office and the detective led to a firm conclusion that Deleon murdered his wife, and that the evidence categorically showed that she did not kill herself.
3. People vs. Thomas MacleanCrimes: Second-degree murder; O.W.I.- causing a death Police Department: Macomb County Sheriff’s Dep’t (Sgt. Larry King) Year of crimes: 1998 Charges filed: 2005 Trial judge: Richard Caretti Outcome of case: The jury convicted the defendant as charged- 17 –to-30 years prison In 1998, the defendant, Thomas Maclean, while severely intoxicated and driving at extremely high speed, crashed into the back of a car driven by William Shand. The victim died as a result of his injuries. Although we issued an arrest warrant against Maclean in 1998, the district judge did not process the warrant on account of our office and the sheriff’s department having information that Maclean suffered a closed head injury, rendering him incompetent to stand trial. In 2005, we received information that Maclean had recovered from his injuries. We activated and resuscitated the case. The jury convicted the defendant in 2005 of second-degree murder.
4. People vs. Kenny KhalilCrimes: Arson and home invasion Police Department: Clinton Township (Det. John Friedmann) Year of crimes: 2005 Charges filed: 2006 Trial judge: James Biernat, Sr. Outcome of case: Guilty plea In 2005, the defendant broke into his estranged wife's apartment, and set fire to clothes contained in her closet. The police department and the prosecutor's office determined that the defendant used a cell phone while near his wife's apartment, and, thus, were able to place him near the scene when the fire started. This evidence refuted the defendant's claim that he was 30 miles away from the scene at the time of the arson.
5. People vs. Michael ThrondsetCrimes: Arson and conspiracy Police Department: Michigan State Police (Sgt. Waite) Year of crimes: 2003 Charges filed: 2006 Trial judge: Richard Caretti Outcome of case: Guilty pleas as charged.
6. People vs. Jill TrainorCrimes: Arson, conspiracy, and insurance fraud Police Department: Michigan State Police (Sgt. Waite) Year of crime: 2003 Charges filed: 2006 Trial judge: Richard Caretti Outcome of case: Guilty pleas as charged.
7. People vs. Jose PosadasCrimes: Arson and insurance fraud Police Departments: Fraser P.D., and Michigan State Police (Sgt. Waite) Year of crime: 2003 Charges filed: 2006 Trial judge: Mary Chrzanowski Outcome of case: Guilty plea as to the arson charge. In 2003, the defendant, behind in his bills at a commercial cleaners he owned, deliberately set fire to the building in order to collect on an insurance policy. The State Police re-opened the case in 2006, determining that the defendant had the motive, opportunity, and means to set the fire. Posadas pleaded guilty as charged, and was ordered to pay restitution to the fire department as part of his probationary sentence.
8. People vs. Damion GreenCrimes: Home invasion and burglary Police Department: Clinton Township P.D. (Det. John Friedmann) Year of crime: 2003 Charges filed: 2007 Outcome of case: Guilty pleas as charged
9. People vs. Khalid MaroofCrimes: Arson, insurance fraud, and false pretenses Police Department: Michigan State Police (Sgt. Len Jaskulka) Year of crimes: 2006 Charges filed: March 28, 2007 Outcome of case: Preliminary examination held; pretrial: 8-27-2007
10. People vs. Anthony Rizzo, Jr.Crimes: Felony murder and first-degree child abuse Police Department: Michigan State Police (Sgt. Patrick Young) Year of crimes: 2003 Charges filed: April 5, 2007 Outcome of case: Defendant plead guilty of 2nd degree murder In 2003, a child died as a result of suffering a blunt trauma injury to the head. Charges were not filed initially, because the police department could not determine whether the baby's mother or the mother's boyfriend inflicted the fatal injury. In 2006, Sgt. Young and Trooper Tuckey of the Michigan State Police re-opened the case. Their investigation showed that the defendant (the mother's boyfriend) had the sole opportunity to commit the crime, since he was along with the baby while the baby's mother purchased items in a drug store. Rizzo pleaded guilty of second-degree murder, and was sentenced to serve a 90-month to 20-year prison term.
11. People vs. Joseph HendrixCrimes: Felony murder, carjacking, and U.D.A.A. Police Department: Shelby Township (Det. Hogan) Year of crimes: 2006 Charges filed: 2007 Trial judge: Matt Switalski Outcome of case: The jury convicted the defendant as charged- Life without parole. In September 2006, a violent, tragic act occurred in the parking lot of a Shelby Township strip mall. A carjacking occurred, where the thief pushed the passenger, a 65-year-old woman, out of the car and onto the pavement. She suffered grave injuries, leading to her death seven days later. Five months later, we charged Joseph Hendrix with felony murder and carjacking, gaining convictions as charged. Although we lacked evidence linking Hendrix to the scene, we prevailed at trial through the use of other bad act evidence, revealing that Hendrix had stolen other vehicles in the vicinity of the carjacking, within days of the carjacking.
12. People vs. John WieczorekCrimes: First-degree criminal sexual conduct; assault with intent to commit GBH Police Department: Shelby Township (Det. Hogan) Year of crimes: 2004 Trial judge: Hon. Donald Miller Outcome of case: The jury convicted the defendant as charged. In 2004, the Defendant, John Wieczorek, raped and brutally assaulted a prostitute. Nine months later, our office charged the defendant, a repeat offender, with rape and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm. The jury convicted him as charged. The key to lodging charges and prevailing at trial was the detective’s efforts in encouraging the victim to cooperate and then testify.
13. People vs. David BaumanCrimes: First-degree murder, armed robbery, and felony firearm Police Department: Michigan State Police (Sgt. Patrick Young) Date of crimes: October 21, 2000 Trial judge: Hon. Diane Druzinski Charges issued: October 18, 2005 Outcome of case: The defendant pleaded guilty as charged on 2-15-2006
14. People vs. Dennis BryanCrimes: First-degree murder, armed robbery, and felony firearm Police Department: Michigan State Police (Sgt. Patrick Young) Date of crimes: October 21, 2000 Charges issued: October 18, 2005 Outcome of case: The defendant pleaded guilty as charged on 2-15-2006
15. People vs. Nelson HamptonCrimes: Arson of a Dwelling Police Department: Roseville Police Department (Det. Demick) Date of crimes: January 1, 2007 Charges issued: January 3, 2007 Trial Judge: Peter J. Maceroni Outcome of case: 2007 Guilty plea of arson
16. People vs. Michael O'SullivanCrimes: Arson of a dwelling Police Department: Roseville Police Department (Det. Rocco) Date of crimes: March 10, 2007 Charges issued: September 17, 2007 Trial judge: Richard L. Caretti Outcome of case: 2007 Guilty plea of arson
17. People vs. Gary CampbellCrimes: OWI-Death and Leaving the Scene of an Accident Police Department: Warren Police Department (Det. Ricotta) Date of crimes: Charges issued: Trial judge: Peter J. Maceroni Outcome of case: 2008 guilty plea of two lesser offenses
18. People vs. Michael AmiranteCrimes: 1st degree Child Abuse Police Department: Shelby Township Police Department (Det. Hogan) Date of crimes: September 3, 2006 Charges issued: December 7, 2007 Outcome of case: The defendant was bound over for trial on the charge of first-degree child abuse following a preliminary examination held on May 12, 2008. A pretrial is scheduled in the Macomb County Circuit Court on June 3, 2008. July 15, 2008, Amirante pled NO CONTEST to charge of 1st degree child abuse. Judge Foster sentenced Amirante on August 12, 2008 to 90 days in jail and 2 years non-reporting probation
19. People vs. Arthur ReamCrimes: 1st degree Murder Police Department: Eastpointe Police Department (Det. McLaughlin) Date of crimes: April 20, 1986 Charges issued: December 27, 2007 Trial judge: Mary Chrzanowski Outcome of case: Trial began June 11,2008, closing arguments and verdict on June 18, 2008. Jury found Arthur Ream GUILTY of 1st degree murder, for the death of Cindy Zarzycki in 1986. August 7, 2008 Ream was sentenced to LIFE without parole by Judge Mary Chrzanowski. Before Ream's sentencing, he agreed to reveal the location of Cindy's remains.The body of Cindy Zarzycki was located after 22 years missing, near 23 mile Road and North Ave. Eastpointe detectives found Cindy's remains in a shallow grave. She was returned to her family and finally laid to rest.