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Cremation could clear man charged with carrying bones in bag

Posted August 15, 2011

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— A Mebane man accused of killing a woman and carrying her bones around in a backpack could be cleared of wrongdoing because her family later cremated the remains.

Michael Charles Dorman, 33, of 1411 Sundown Drive, is charged with murder and concealing or failing to report a death.

Durham police arrested Dorman in July 2010 after one of his friends told investigators that Dorman admitted to killing a prostitute and asked him to help dispose of her remains.

Dorman had been storing Lakiea Lacole Boxley’s bones in a backpack, prosecutors have said, adding that he told investigators he only found the remains and planned to use them for his sexual gratification.

Boxley, 31, had been missing since March 2008, and an autopsy determined that she might have been shot in the head.

Defense attorney Lawrence Campbell has asked that the case be dismissed because critical evidence – Boxley's remains – has been destroyed.

The state Victims Compensation Services office paid more than $2,700 for the cremation, and Campbell pointed out during a Monday court hearing that local law enforcement must determine that a victim is innocent before the state agency will pick up the tab for something like that.

Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline said the state agency has nothing to do with investigations and doesn't get permission from prosecutors to pay for cremations. Remains are routinely released to family members, and the State Medical Examiner's Office provides an autopsy report and photographs needed for court, she said.

Michael Dorman in court Cremation could clear man charged with carrying bones in bag

A victim's advocate in the Durham Police Department and investigators with the department and the Orange County Sheriff's Office all testified that they never recommended cremation to Boxley's family.

Durham homicide detective Chris Robinson said he contacted Boxley's sister in South Carolina after Boxley's identity was confirmed through dental records, but he didn't discuss funeral arrangements.

"In the time that you have been working as a law enforcement officer and particularly as a homicide investigator, have you ever suggested to a family or told them they need to cremate the remains of their loved one?” Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline asked Robinson.

"No," he replied.

Campbell said a court order was issued in the case to preserve evidence, but Robinson said it was issued after the remains had been returned to Boxley's family.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson could rule on the case Tuesday.

31 Comments

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  • shortcake53 Aug 17, 2011

    fayncmike, that is NO excuse at all and totally unacceptable.

  • cso1972 Aug 16, 2011

    DISMISSED...I was at the courthouse just now for jury duty & could've been put on the jury but the case was in fact dismissed...wow...

  • fayncmike Aug 16, 2011

    "Sloppy work? They did what is always done in these situations. They released the remains to the family after the autopsy. Just because some slick lawyer comes a year after the arrest and argues that the case be dismissed does not mean sloppy work on anyones part.

    What will happen when you have convicted murderers who say that they did not get a fair trail because the remains were destroyed before their trail. A lot of felons could be freed based on this.
    johnniepettiford"

    Yes, sloppy work. The prosecution didn't need the whole bag of bones. A couple of small tissue samples would have been all they needed to have kept. It doesn't take a huge amount of tissue to do DNA testing. That would be all that would be needed.

  • johnniepettiford Aug 16, 2011

    Sloppy work? They did what is always done in these situations. They released the remains to the family after the autopsy. Just because some slick lawyer comes a year after the arrest and argues that the case be dismissed does not mean sloppy work on anyones part.

    What will happen when you have convicted murderers who say that they did not get a fair trail because the remains were destroyed before their trail. A lot of felons could be freed based on this.

  • fayncmike Aug 16, 2011

    "Exactly WHAT does it take to get punished anymore?? This guy admitted he carried around her remains and what he planned to keep them for. AND HE MAY WALK????? In what universe does this make any sense at all??
    shortcake53

    It's really very simple. Sloppy work on the part of the cops and prosecutors leads to a walk.

  • dldobbins Aug 16, 2011

    OMGoodness....they are going to let him go because her remains were cremated? Isn't there some photographic evidence of the remains? If they let him go, he should be remanded to the care of the person who dropped the ball on this one which allows this pervert to walk and we all should contact our congressman about changing that law for sure. PLEASE don't let him walk on a technicality....please don't let him walk. The world has too many weirdo, crazy people killing other people walking around now.

  • shortcake53 Aug 16, 2011

    Exactly WHAT does it take to get punished anymore?? This guy admitted he carried around her remains and what he planned to keep them for. AND HE MAY WALK????? In what universe does this make any sense at all??

  • fayncmike Aug 16, 2011

    "he told investigators he only found the remains and planned to use them for his sexual gratification."

    The mind boggles at the thought of just what that statement might mean.

  • two2294 Aug 15, 2011

    buffsonly1...I'm sure that the crime rate up North is low, no one committs crimes there now do they.....or maybe u mean that the police don't mess up.. what about the guy the killed coming out of a bar after his bachelor party....no they don't make mistakes.....

  • lalaloo Aug 15, 2011

    @buffsonly, uh huh, the NYPD is just a well oiled crime fighting machine. Gimme me a break.

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