Retailer Michael George released on bond as he awaits new trial

Michael George, the retailer awaiting a new trial in the 1990 murder of his first wife, was released on Wednesday from the Macomb County, Michigan, jail after posting bond. He had been incarcerated for nearly three years.

Last month Macomb County Circuit Court Judge James M. Biernat reduced George's bond from $2.5 million to $500,000 following an appeals court ruling that the 49-year-old should get a new trial.

George, who reportedly is wheelchair-bound and unable to walk without assistance, has been fitted with a GPS tether and confined to a home in Shelby Township. He's only permitted to leave for scheduled doctor visits and meetings with his attorneys.

A jury found George guilty in March 2008 of first-degree murder in the death of Barbara George, who was shot in the head while preparing a surprise birthday party for her husband at their Clinton Township comics store. Although police suspected George had killed his 32-year-old wife, the case went cold until 2007, when a detective reopened it. Prosecutors contend 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.

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 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.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled last month that Biernat didn't abuse his discretion when he determined George was entitled to a second trial. Prosecutors plan to challenge the appeals court decision in the state Supreme Court.

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