Dateline | January 25, 2013
>>> september 2011 , in the nearly three years since the last comic book murder trial michael george had been locked up in the county jail where he said inadequate care caused a vitamin b -12 deficiency that crippled him. he was now confined to a wheelchair as his second trial got under way before a new judge, mary shchinoy owski, but if the defendant's disability made him appear feeble and more sympathetic to you are jooors, the new prosecution team would work hard to demonize him.
>> michael george fell prey to the two issues most known to common man, sex and money.
>> what was your theory for the jury?
>> i think motive is important, and it was easy. $130,000 in insurance proceeds, and the fact that he really didn't want to be married. he didn't like his wife. he found her completely unattractive.
>> he wanted a new life.
>> in his opening line, prosecutors told steve fox that in 1990 michael george was having a torrid affair with renee, now his second wife.
>> he wanted to get rid of his overweight wife and move on to someone better.
>> before the murder the husband wasn't bothering to hide his disdain for his wife barbara according to this prosecution witness.
>> thee theesa, they were in the store when theresa walked in.
>> i had remarked how beautiful his girls were.
>> what did he say?
>> if it wasn't for his daughters that he would not be with his wife and that he found her unattractive and heavy and if it was up to him he would take the girls and move to florida.
>> what was your reaction to that response?
>> i couldn't believe he had said something like that to me while she was right there in the store.
>> and that same customer was shocked again days later when michael made what she thought was a pass at her during his own wife's viewing at the funeral home .
>> he gave me a very inappropriate hug. it would have been a hug that i would only have given my husband. it's a very intimate hug.
>> a little creepy, but the following saturday as was their custom teresa and her son stopped by comics world. michael slipped her a note.
>> would you read that note for the jury.
>> you look very, very, very pretty today. thanks for coming in. sincerely, michael .
>> publicly scornful of his wife, hitting on other women and now a longtime friend of barbara 's was testifying that her friends and family were all well aware with of capital t, trouble, in the marriage. kathy got a call weeks before the murder.
>> she was crying, very upset. mike wanted a divorce.
>> and did she convey to you whether she would agree to that?
>> oh, she did not want a divorce.
>> prosecutor fox then asked the witness about seeing the defendant at barb's funeral.
>> i overheard mike saying to his mother yelling out, mom, did you call the insurance company ? it just didn't sound good because of the phone conversation i had with barb and then now her death.
>> michael george , a one-time insurance salesman himself received $130,
000 tax-free from his wife's life insurance policies, not bad money in 1990 . a witness who worked with michael in the insurance business was asked about the money.
>> what does the document say?
>> this is a claim statement for payment of the proceeds.
>> who signed the claim?
>> michael george , looks like.
>> on what day?
>> 7/18 of '90.
>> july 18, 1990 .
>> yes, sir.
>> are you aware that barbara george was buried on july 16, 1990 .
>> woman nicer, scoundrel. the prosecution dissected his character and referred to him as the only possible killer.
>> our concentration was to show that he was the only guy, that he was the one who had to have done it because no one else on earth would have.
>> speak loudly. your first name is kim?
>> prosecutors called this witness who worked at a nail salon at comics world.
>> i would say i witnessed 30 to 35 arguments.
>> she testified shield hear many arguments between michael and barbara that summer, but the one she heard that day, friday the 13th sound uglier.
>> it was much louder. he was much angrier and seemed much more violent.
>> than the ones in the past?
>> less than four hours later, barbara george would be discovered by customers on the floor in the back of comics world. yet in this public place of a strip mall , customers coming and going, cars, no witness remembered hearing gunshots, though two had been fired and no one remembered seeing anyone leave the store and no witness saw michael george at the store from the time he left after 4:00 until he drove up at 8:00 for what was to be his birthday party . by then police were all over the scene.
>> he told us who he was, identified himself and wanted to know what happened in the store.
>> lead detective donald steckman, then of clinton township p.d. testified that michael said his wife was working at comics world.
>> i advised him there had been an incident at the store and his wife had been injured.
>> did he ask you about her condition?
>> did he ask you about how it happened?
>> steckman told the husband that then lieutenant donald brook would be driving him to the hospital where he could find out about his wife.
>> the former lieutenant testified that michael started chatting without prompting.
>> he made a statement that i thought was noteworthy.
>> what was that statement? something must have fell or dropped on her in the back room.
>> why is that statement interesting to you?
>> because i never told him that mrs. george was in the back room of the store.
>> those are things he should have known.
>> he knows evidence that only the shooter would know not realizing how unique that information is.
>> later that night according to police, michael george told investigators the two white boxes of expensive comics were missing and that poor barbara must have stumbled into a robbery gone bad.
>> a theory police and prosecutors subsequently rejected.
>> this is why it was not a robbery. the diamond ring was on her hand and we know it was worth at least $2500. there was $700 in the register. expensive comics behind the glass were untouched. the safe, untouched.
>> the safe was in the back storage room where michael claimed the missing bockes of comics had been.
>> what's unique about that these two white boxes were unmarked and they didn't say expensive comic books here.
>> missing comics were never found, but prosecutors believe they were never stolen, either, even though michael recovered a $12,600 insurance claim for them.
>> there were a hundred unmarked white boxes in that room, the only way to know which ones to grab would be if it was an inside job .
>> the only inside job according to the prosecutors was the murder itself.
>> the reason it's an inside job is because of the access ability to that door.
>> that door was central to the prosecutor's theory of the murder. michael george , they said, sneaked in the back door and concealed himself until his wife was alone in the store. when she came into the back room their belief was he fired two shots. the first one hitting a swimsuit calendar in the wall, the second striking barb in the top of her head as she was ducking away.
>> the murder took place and where he went from there our theory is out of the back door and gone.
>> slipping into the alley, sight unseen, but not before doing only what he could do.
>> he left through the back door. double locked.
>> indeed, the door was locked from the outside when police arrived. something prosecutors claimed only michael george could do.
>> you'd have to have both keys? no one, but the defendant had keys to the back door, prosecutors, maintained and they added any supposed robber would have fled through the busy front door and would have been spotted.
>> there were too many witnesses that started walking in a minute to two minutes of that gunshot. no one saw anyone leaving with boxes of comic books . no one saw anyone running out the front door.
>> what about people spotted by witnesses minutes before and after the murder? the guy in the greek's fisherman's cap, the suspicious character who seemed to be wearing a fake beard. the so-called bearded lady . police made a sketch of the bearded lady , but prosecutors say none of the would-be suspects ever amounted to anything except in the case of the bearded lady . prosecutors theorize that this person may have been michael george 's accomplice. now the prosecutors would offer up their star witness, the sole person who with could say the husband was indeed in the store as the minutes were counting down to murder. comic collector mike renaud. but this time the defense was ready with new evidence to challenge not only renaud's credibility, but also his memory.
>>> coming up, in 1990 you used marijuana and you drank