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Judge reaffirms ruling: Charge against Dorman dismissed

Posted August 18, 2011

— A judge on Thursday ruled for the second time this week that charges should be dropped against a Mebane man arrested last year with the remains of a Durham woman in his backpack.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson ruled Tuesday that the state withheld evidence by allowing the family of Lakiea Lacole Boxley to cremate her remains, and he ordered a murder charge against Michael Charles Dorman dismissed.

Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline sought a stay against the order, but Hudson denied it on Thursday. 

Dorman, 33, of 1411 Sundown Drive, was arrested 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. Prosecutors said Dorman told investigators that 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.

State law requires remains to be returned to families once a medical examiner's investigation into the cause of death is complete, North Carolina Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch testified.

Defense attorney Lawrence Campbell asked that the charges against Dorman be dismissed because critical evidence in the case had been destroyed.

Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline argued that there was no proof that police or the medical examiner's office "acted in bad faith" in turning the remains over to Boxley's family.

A court order to preserve evidence in the case was a "generic motion" filed in every felony case, she said, noting that any concerns about the remains weren't raised until after the family had already cremated them.

The state Attorney General's office said Wednesday it will appeal Hudson's dismissal of the murder charge. The motion on Thursday was part of the appeals process. 

Hudson also ordered that Dorman be involuntarily committed. 

Dorman was in court on Thursday, but he will be transported back to an area mental health facility to undergo an evaluation.

In general, the evaluation process can take up to 72 hours, court officials said. 

"If he is a danger to himself or others, he will be committed," Campbell said. "If not, he is a regular citizen and he will be released." 

Cline argued Thursday that there were legal and public safety issues at stake in dropping the charges against Dorman.

"The defendant is a danger to the community and the public at large in that he is mentally ill," Cline's motion stated. 

Dorman has been diagnosed with a mood disorder, sexual disorder, gender identity disorder, alcohol abuse, cannabis abuse, personality disorder with antisocial borderline features and borderline intellectual functioning, according to the motion. 

Papers written by Dorman were attached to the motion. The notes detail stalking and peeping into windows and/or going into the houses of women to seek sexual gratification. He also wrote of torturing and harming people. 

"At this time, the state has no knowledge whether this is a written fantasy story or is detailing actual events," the motion stated.

Dorman pleaded guilty to several charges related to break-ins that happened in 2003 and 2004, court records show. In one case, he broke into a Hillsborough restaurant. Other cases involved the homes of women.

From one victim, he took a dress, three pairs of underwear, a blanket and a pillow. In another case, he took perfume and more clothing, including jeans, dresses, slips and camisoles.

Cline said she is specifically concerned about Dorman being released without any supervision. 

Cline added that she filed the motion so prosecutors could say they have done all they can "so nothing happens to another citizen." 


This story is closed for comments.

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  • awood2 Aug 19, 2011

    If he's not going to jail sounds like he needs to go to a mental hospital for sure!

  • spookems Aug 19, 2011

    Dorman may be retried. He is at the minimum mentally off as evidenced by carrying around a bag of human bones.

    The thing that really is troublesome is the number of individuals, as evidenced by these forums who believe that anyone who is charged is guilty. Each jury probably has at least two or three of them.

    This case shows us the difference in judges. Hudson at least considered that the destruction of evidence by police and the prosecution could permanently deny Gorman his right to a fair trial.
    Judge Gessner ignored the fact that tire tracks, foot prints, two cell phones, and a phone sim card were destroyed by the police. The tire tracks and foot prints apparently weren't Cooper's, that is why someone in the CPD ordered them destroyed. Apparently phone numbers and text mails on Nancy's phone harmed the CPD case. That is why someone ordered them destroyed.

    Anyone incompetent enough to destroy that much evidence would have been at least demoted or fired unless they had orders

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Aug 19, 2011

    It's amazing how a confessed criminal like Dorman can get off but an innocent man like Brad Cooper is railroaded into prison.

    Our legal system has serious issues.

  • Whatever27 Aug 19, 2011

    To all those defending the judges idiodic ruling on Dorman I wonder, now that he's considered a normal civilian, why don't you invite him to live in your neighborhoods? What? Don't want him mingling with your family? Why not? Like some of you have said, the fact that he was carrying around a woman's remains in his back pack, and the fact that he told his friend he killed her and needed help disposing of the remains, and the fact that he admitted to wanting to have sex with said remains, is all just..wait, what was that term again? oh, yes, now I remember. It's all just cirmcumstantial evidence, right? The ME can't prove how she died...Hey, maybe this YOUNG woman just dropped dead and he just HAPPENED across her body. Maybe he's innocent. So, go ahead and invite him over for a cookout why don't you?

    Sheesh. There is something terribly wrong about knowing a man murdered someone and not doing anything about it because of a stupid technicality. Odds are this sick nut job will kill again a

  • airbornemonty Aug 18, 2011

    This fiasco can be prevented in the future with a rule that says the medical examiner will not release anything that could be considered evidence until he has a signed agreement from the prosecution and the defense stating that the evidence isn't needed or something like that.

    I know North Carolina has to have attorneys working for the state that can come up with something similar to what I have written.

  • moogies Aug 18, 2011

    This is another case where the so called judicial system is slanted more to help the offender, or accused than the victim and general public. It scares me to death to thik this sick creep might one day soon walk the streets again and prey on another victim for his sick pleasure. I really don't understand how after something like this plays out, how we can have faith in our judicial system.

  • EverythingTicksMeOff Aug 18, 2011

    Cline's arguments are mostly silly. She may be right that he should still be charged, but her arguments are just silly. He should sitll be charged with murder because he is a danger to himself and others? Uh, no. Committed to a mental institution maybe, but not charged with murder. And the police and medical examiner's office acted in good faith so he should be charged with murder anyway? Uh, no. Faith has nothing to do with it. Critical evidence was destroyed, so the state has no case. Silly.

  • jaspinwall83 Aug 18, 2011

    This is sick that he's getting off in the first place. I'll give him a .005% chance of NOT reoffending... in the very least breaking into some strange woman's home for his gratification purposes. How does this make any sense whatsoever, that the judge at least wouldn't recommend something a bit stiffer. I mean, we have young men or people who've gone streaking or took a leak in public on the sex offender registry for all to see, and their overall recidivism rate is the second lowest for any crime, and this man, who is clearly disturbed and dangerous goes free... how?

  • bill0 Aug 18, 2011

    "And this guy has someones bones who they have proved was murderd "

    That is the problem - they didn't "prove" she was murdered. The police listed it as a homicide, but the coroner couldn't determine the cause of death. In probably 99% of murders, there really is no question about the basics. eg a gunshot, a stab wound etc. In this case, those were all in doubt.

    "how is it not illegal to have a murderd persons remains in your possession"

    It IS illegal. He was originally charged with illegally carrying around human bones. He could still face that charge.

  • factsfirstopinionlater Aug 18, 2011

    A defense attorney is there to ensure a fair trial and to guide the defendant through the trial process, not do what ever he can to get the defendant out of it. This one is going too far.


    Um, actually the attorney's job is to advocate on behalf of his/her client. It is NOT the job of any attorney to just "guide them through the system" and make sure "it's fair". The fairness of it is THAT an attorney fights for their client. Mr. Campbell did his job and did it well, and you are right, if it were his daughter in that bag he would not have filed that motion because he would not represent the accused in that case. You want to be mad, be mad at the DA's office.