Witnesses to Give Testimony in Macomb Twp. Murder Trial This Week
The trial of Joseph T. Reiner, who is accused of brutally stabbing a Macomb Township woman in her Fairchild Road home last year, continues in Circuit Court this week.
The first witnesses in the murder trial of a 28-year-old Fraser man accused of brutally stabbing a Macomb Township woman in her home last year are due to testify in Macomb County Circuit Court this week.
Joseph T. Reiner is charged with first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and home invasion stemming from his alleged Feb. 23, 2011 attack on 69-year-old Joann Eisenhardt.
Eisenhardt, who was stabbed in the neck with two kitchen knives during the February attack, died Sept. 20, 2011 from what Macomb County Medical Examiner Dr. Daniel Spitz testified to be complications related to the original injuries.
Reiner is accused of breaking into Eisenhardt's home, stabbing her and stealing $2 worth of jewelry, which Assistant Prosecutor Bill Cataldo says he pawned at an Eastpointe shop before fleeing the state.
The trial's opening statements took place Thursday, with Cataldo telling jurors that "according to her son, Eisenhardt's biggest fear was that her home would be broken into and she would be assaulted," The Detroit Free Press reports.
For that reason, Eisenhardt had knives hidden in the front room and bedroom of her home – knives that Cataldo claims Reiner used to stab Eisenhardt during the attack.
During his opening address to jurors, Reiner's attorney, Timothy Barkovic, said he would show that his client neither assaulted, nor robbed Eisenhardt, as there is no direct evidence linking Reiner to the crime.
During pre-trial, one of Eisenhardt's neighbors was able to place him in the area the morning of the attack, but Barkovic argues that at the exact time Eisenhardt was calling 911, Reiner was already in the car with this neighbor.
"How can one person be in two places at the same time?" the Free Press quotes Barkovic asking the jury.
Another witness who would be able to link Reiner to Eisenhardt through her jewelry is pawnshop owner Hadrian Lewandowski, but Lewandowski died in May 2011 of a heart attack.
However, Judge Peter Maceroni ruled last week that statements Lewandowski made to police following the attack would be allowed during the trial. The judge also ruled, to the objection of Reiner's attorney, that the prosecution would be able to "introduce evidence of prior similiar acts" and allow two witnesses to identify Reiner on the stand.
The trial continues this week.