Monday, October 19, 2009

Stay granted in double-murder trial

The trial for a Warren man accused of murdering his brother and his sister-in-law was placed on hold Monday by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The court has agreed to hear defense attorney Walter Piszczatowski’s appeal of Livingston County District Judge Theresa Brennan’s decision to exclude testimony from a California professor about police interrogation and false confessions.

“This is an important issue because of the number of people who have been exonerated by DNA and have supposedly confessed,” Piszczatowski said. “I think the Court of Appeals wants to take a second look at whether we should have a right to present our side to the jury.”

Prosecutor David Morse was not available for comment Monday due the Columbus Day holiday.

The defense argues that Jerome Kowalski’s alleged confession to murdering his brother, Richard Kowalski, 65, and sister-in-law Brenda Kowalski, 58, came after prolonged interrogation by and at the suggestion of police officers.

The professor — Richard Leo, associate professor of law at the University of San Francisco — says Jerome Kowalski came to believe he committed a crime and desperately searched for details “despite the fact (of) having no memory to do so.”

Kowalski is charged with two counts each of open murder and felony firearms for the slayings of his brother and his sister-in-law, both of whom were found dead May 1, 2008, in the kitchen of their Lyngre Drive home in Oceola Township, just east of Howell. They had been shot to death.

No comments: