Prosecution Offers Witnesses, Evidence in Macomb Twp. Stabbing
Suspect Joseph Reiner appeared in the 41A District Court today for a preliminary examination in the Feb. 23 stabbing of a Macomb Township woman.
Evidence in the case surrounding the brutal stabbing of a 69-year-old Macomb Township woman on Feb. 23 was heard today in the 41A District Court of Judge Douglas Shepherd.
The defendant in this case, Joseph Reiner, 27, appeared in court with his attorney, Timothy Barkovic. Reiner is currently being held at the Macomb County Jail, but may be returned to the Michigan Department of Corrections to await his next court date.
Prosecuting attorney William Cataldo called four witnesses to the stand and submitted 11 exhibits as evidence to the court of the home invasion and subsequent attack which resulted in the victim, Joann Eisenhardt, being stabbed twice in the neck.
Reiner is charged with first-degree home invasion and assault with intent to murder.
The case was adjourned after almost three hours, but will resume on June 22 at 1 p.m.
Despite the recent death of one of the prosecution's key witnesses, Hadrian Lewandowski, 49, of Grosse Pointe Woods, and the lack of DNA evidence at the present time, Cataldo said he is "confident" his case will place Reiner at the scene of the attack.
"We are confident the DNA evidence will come back as a match to (Eisenhardt)," he said. "Even without DNA, we still have a good case."
Barkovic expressed similar confidence in his client's innocence.
"The blood (found) on my client's shirt was from using drugs," Barkovic said. "It was his own blood. Ultimately, the (prosecution) will end up with an entirely circumstantial case."
Until this case is resolved, Cataldo said other charges pending against Reiner in Grosse Pointe and New York state will not be pursued.
Macomb County Sheriff's dispatcher Thomas Stawski was the first witness Cataldo called to the stand. Stawski had accepted Eisenhardt's 9-1-1 call on Feb. 23.
The recording, which featured the conversation between Eisenhardt and Stawski, was played for the court in order to "show why the police did what they did" in responding to Eisenhardt's residence on the morning of Feb. 23, Cataldo said.
In the tape, Eisenhardt can be heard moaning and describing the attack, but does not mention her injuries.
"She never mentioned she had knives in her neck (in the 9-1-1 call)," Cataldo said. "She said she believed he tried to break her neck, but she had no idea (about the knives."
Eisenhardt was unable to appear in court having been hospitalized once again for complications resulting from her original injuries–the most recent hospitalization being due to a blood infection.
Macomb County Sheriff's Deputy Sgt. John Raymo and his partner were the first to arrive on the scene following Eisenhardt's 9-1-1 call.
"The information we had was that there had been an assault and someone was injured in the house," Raymo said.
Upon entering the home, Raymo found Eisenhardt lying on her back in the hallway with "two knives embedded into the left side of her neck."
Scans at Mount Clemens Regional Hospital, where Eisenhardt was transported, showed the knives, two black-handled kitchen knives, had passed through her neck between the thorax and the carotid artery.
It was sheriff's deputy Sharon Furno who photographed Eisenhardt's injuries at the hospital and collected evidence at the victim's home.
Additional evidence presented to the court included photographs of the home, where the door appeared to be forced in and blood could be seen on the hallway floor; surveillance video of a Flagstar Bank parking lot where a witness says he dropped Reiner off shortly after the time the crime is alleged to have occurred; a photograph of the knives lodged in the victim's neck; a photograph of the X-ray showing the knives in the victim's neck; photographs of the knives with what appears to be blood on the tips; and DNA evidence on a shirt and shoes found with Reiner upon his arrest in New York.