DA seeks stay in backpack bones case

Michael Dorman

August 17, 2011 1:07:15 PM PDT
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper's office says Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline has asked for its assistance after a judge dismissed the murder charge against a man accused of killing a woman and carrying her bones in a backpack.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson ruled Tuesday that Michael Dorman's attorneys had proven that evidence in the case was destroyed before they had a chance to examine it. Cline is asking Hudson to stay his order.

Michael Dorman, II, 33, of Mebane was accused of killing 31-year-old Lakeia Boxely in 2008. According Cline, Dorman told a friend he killed Boxely in Durham and asked the friend to help dispose of the bones.

When Dorman was arrested, he told investigators he simply found the remains. Defense attorney Lawrence Campbell said police failed to preserve the bones so they could be examined by defense experts. Boxley's family had them cremated after they were released by the medical examiner's office.

Investigators and medical examiners have testified there was no plot to destroy evidence. Cline argued that the cremation of the remains 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.

The judge ordered Dorman held Tuesday pending a mental evaluation of whether he is a danger to himself or others.

Cline has said she will appeal Judge Hudson's decision to dismiss the murder charge. The AG's office says its attorneys will assist as they routinely do with criminal appeals.

Hudson has agreed to hear arguments Thursday morning.

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