Court orders new trial for retailer Michael George in store killing

Retailer Michael George, convicted in March 2008 of fatally shooting his first wife Barbara in 1990, should get a new trial, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled today.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the appellate court said Macomb County Circuit Judge James Biernat didn't abuse his discretion when in September 2008 he determined George was entitled to a second trial after defense attorneys discovered new evidence.

Prosecutors plan to appeal today's decision to the state Supreme Court.

Barbara George was shot in the head on July 13, 1990, while preparing a surprise birthday part for her husband at Comics World, the Clinton Township store the couple owned. Although police suspected that Michael George had killed his 32-year-old wife, the case went cold until 2007, when a detective reopened it. Prosecutors contend that Michael George staged the killing to look like a robbery so he could collect money from an insurance policy and a shared estate, and start over with another woman.

A jury found Michael George guilty in March 2008 of first-degree murder, felony firearm, insurance fraud and obtaining money from an insurance agency under false pretenses. He was sentenced to life in prison in June 2008, but Biernat set aside the conviction less than three months later, citing prosecutorial misconduct -- prosecutors had shown Michael George's mug shot to the jury -- and the release of new evidence that could lead the jury to believe another person was responsible for the murder of Barbara George.

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