Judge denies lower bond in backpack bones case
Posted March 8, 2013
Durham, N.C. — A Superior Court judge on Friday denied a request for a lower bond for a Mebane man charged with killing a woman and toting her remains around in a backpack.
Michael Dorman has been in jail since his July 2010 arrest, even though the murder charge was dropped for 18 months before the state Court of Appeals ruled in February that a judge incorrectly dismissed it.
Defense attorney Lawrence Campbell sought a $50,000 bond for Dorman, but Assistant Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols argued that the bond should be increased, not lowered, because of Dorman's previous criminal record and the severity of the charge.
Judge Orlando Hudson ruled that Dorman's bond would remain at $150,000.
It was Hudson who dismissed the murder charge in August 2011, saying that former District Attorney Tracey Cline had conspired with police and state agents to deny Dorman's right to a fair trial by destroying key evidence.
Local authorities released the remains of 31-year-old Lakiea Lacole Boxley to her relatives shortly after Dorman was indicted. When her family cremated the remains, Hudson said, it deprived the defense from conducting forensic tests on them.
An autopsy determined that Boxley, who had been missing since March 2008, might have been shot in the head. Dorman told investigators that he only found the remains and planned to use them for his sexual gratification.
He was arrested after one of his friends told authorities that Dorman admitted to killing a prostitute and had asked him to help dispose of her remains, which he had in a backpack.
On Friday, Campbell argued that Dorman is mentally ill and that investigators have no evidence that he killed Boxley, other than his confession.
"They don't know where it happened. They don't know when it happened. They don't know how it happened," he said.
Campbell also challenged the authenticity of a DVD of Dorman's interview with police, noting that prosecutors were never able to provide him with a working version of the DVD until recently. He even went so far as to call Echols to the witness stand to testify about it.
Echols said he has evidence beyond Dorman's confession.
The case helped escalate a feud between Hudson and Cline, who shortly thereafter began publicly accusing the judge of corruption and attempts to undermine criminal prosecutions.
Cline asked that Hudson not hear any criminal cases in Durham County, but other Superior Court judges found her claims to be groundless. In March 2012, she was removed from office after a judge determined that her repeated attacks on Hudson brought her office into disrepute.
Hudson said he would allow other Superior Court judges to take over the Dorman case, although he still might remain involved in some segments.
Dorman's appellate attorneys have appealed the Court of Appeals ruling to the state Supreme Court, Campbell said.