Opening statements were heard yesterday in the trial of retailer Michael George, who’s charged in the 1990 murder of his first wife.
George, owner of Comics World in Windber, Pa., and co-founder of Pittsburgh Comic-Con, is accused of staging the July 13, 1990, shooting death of his first wife Barbara to look like a robbery of their Clinton Township, Mich., comic-book store.
Michigan’s Macomb Daily reports that assistant prosecutor Steven Kaplan told jurors that George shot his wife dead rather than divorce her. He also conceded that the case against the 47-year-old man is largely circumstantial.
Defense attorney Joseph Kosmala argued that George wasn’t at the store at the time of the killing, but was instead asleep on his mother’s sofa some 15 miles away. Kosmala also underscored the lack of physical evidence placing his client at the scene, and argued that prosecutors don’t have new evidence, just “changed stories” in the 17-year-old case.
The trial continues today as the prosecution calls the first of about 40 witnesses. The defense is expected to call seven.
George was arrested in August 2007 at his Windber store after Clinton Township, Mich., detectives re-examined the cold case.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges of first- and second-degree murder, felony firearm, insurance fraud and obtaining money from an insurance agency under false pretenses. If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole.