Durham, N.C. — A Mebane man arrested two years ago after Durham police found human bones in his backpack had his bond lowered Wednesday, even though a judge tossed out a murder charge against him a year ago.
Michael Charles Dorman, 34, of 1411 Sundown Drive, was arrested in July 2010 after one of his friends told police that Dorman admitted to killing a prostitute and had asked him to help dispose of her remains, which he kept in the backpack.
Dorman told investigators that he found the remains, identified as those of 31-year-old Lakiea Lacole Boxley, and planned to use them for his sexual gratification.
Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson dismissed the case last August, ruling that prosecutors and law enforcement worked to destroy Boxley's remains, depriving Dorman of his right to a fair trial.
Dorman, however, was ordered to remain in jail under an involuntary commitment until he could be evaluated to determine whether he is a threat to himself or others.
Durham County Assistant District Attorney Roger Echols argued during a hearing Wednesday that Dorman is a danger to society and asked that his bond not be lowered until the appeal is resolved.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals is expected to take up the matter Sept. 27. The state contends that Hudson abused discretion and that many of his factual findings weren't supported by the evidence.
But Superior Court Judge Michael O’Foghluda lowered the bond to $150,000, after defense attorney Lawrence Campbell argued that further evidence in the case was destroyed and that it could be up to another year before there the appeals court rules on the matter.
By that time, Dorman would be in jail for three years.
Two mental evaluations, Campbell said, have determined that Dorman suffers from a mental illness but is of no danger to others.
"His mental illness is something he has been dealing with all his life, and in this country, we do not incarcerate people because they have mental illness," Campbell said.
Dorman, who spoke during Wednesday's hearing, said the state has failed to provide "one shred of evidence" against him.
"There is nothing in the court's file to show the court's reason to keep me detained," he said.
Campbell also said Wednesday that the state no longer has the police interview with Dorman, because the DVD with the recording can't be played.
Echols also said there is no written transcript, only brief summaries of Dorman's answers, but that the defense knew of the DVD issue prior to a hearing in December in which Dorman's bond was set at $250,000.
But Campbell said prosecutors continually told him they had the interview and that the loss of it shows the state doesn't have the case it claims.
"They have some information that a Durham resident came up missing in 2008, and in 2010, they have these remains," he said. "We could allege that evidence is also destroyed and not available to my client. Meanwhile, he sits in jail."