Cold case murder trial stalled by appeals

News

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — A cold case murder is seeing more twists and turns.

 

A woman is awaiting trial for her alleged involvement in the 2009 murder of a Jackson County man.

 

But before it can begin, disputes between prosecutors and her defense have to be ironed out.

 

Investigators say 56-year-old Matthew Cramton was stabbed 91 times, killed in his Summit Township home in 2009.

 

“It was a very brutal crime,” said Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jerry Jarzynka.

 

The cold case heated up seven years later when Michael Beatty came forward, saying he killed Cramton with the help of his then girlfriend, Tiffany Reichard.

 

Both suspects were charged with open murder.

 

Beatty was given life in prison last year.

 

But court disputes keep delaying Reichard’s trial.

 

The Michigan State Court of Appeals recently rejected the defense’s request to have the jury consider the emotional duress Reichard was under when the murder happened.

 

It’s decision applauded by Jarzynka.

Prosecutors made the appeal after a local circuit court judge said he was going to allow the defense’s duress argument in the trial.  

 

“Long-standing Michigan law says a defendant cannot raise duress as a defense to a homicide case,” Jarzynka said.

 

Reichard’s defense attorney, Andrew Kirkpatrick, says this dispute is not over yet.

 

He plans on taking this case from Jackson County to the Michigan Supreme Court for further consideration.

 

Kirkpatrick says Reichard was 17 years old at the time of the killing and under her boyfriend’s control.

 

“She had been a victim of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse by Mr. Beatty,” Kirkpatrick said.

 

He says the argument of duress during murder needs to be decided by the high court.

 

“Often times, the Supreme Court will take these kinds of cases to set new law, new precedent,” Kirkpatrick said.

“Regardless of whether we’re or not we’re successful at the Supreme Court, duress is still going to be an issue at this trial.”

 

While the defense begins that process, Jarzynka expects their new appeal will also be rejected, and says the best place for the case is Jackson County Court.

 

“We’re looking forward to taking this case to trial,” Jarzynka said.  

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