Judge dismisses charges in backpack bones case

Michael Dorman
August 17, 2011 4:02:21 AM PDT
A Durham County judge dismissed murder charges in the Michael Dorman case Tuesday, stating that the defense proved its claim that evidence was destroyed.

However, the court says it has concerns about Dorman being a threat and ordered he be involuntarily committed.

Dorman is charged with killing Lakeia Boxley and then carrying her bones in a backpack.

Tuesday's hearing was the second in the case. Dorman's attorney has raised questions about why Boxley's remains were cremated and asked if it was an attempt to destroy evidence.

During Tuesday's testimony, Boxley's sister, Latifah White, said she asked authorities to release her sister's skeletal remains for cremation.The state's victim's assistance fund paid for the cremation.

"I wanted to cremate her to let her know I would never leave her," White told the court. "I'm still missing my sister."

Dorman's defense argued the remains should have been retained for further examination.

Durham County District Attorney Tracy Cline argued that was not a reason to allow a suspected killer to walk free. Cline said a portion of Boxley's skull was saved and is available for DNA testing.

Investigators and medical examiners called by the state testified there was no plot to destroy evidence. Cline says she will appeal the judgment and asked Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson to issue an order requiring the medical examiner's office to get a court order to release bodies in murder cases.

Hudson denied the request saying it would be an administrative nightmare for the ME's office if he issued the order. However, Hudson said the ME's office needs to be more careful when dealing with bones.

Cline says she foresees problems with future cases.

Judge Hudson says the issue deserves further discussion.

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