Since my last post, events have been moving fast and furious in the case of Claude McCollum, events which appear to moving in the direction of the exoneration of McCollum. Excellent reporting by Lansing State Journal reporter, Kevin Grasha, an alum of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, have no doubt contributed to the speed of these developments. On Friday, Ingham County prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III joined with McCollum's appellate attorney in asking for a new trial for McCollum. Although Dunnings was very careful not to disclose the new evidentiary basis for the new trial, crack reporting by Krasha discovered that the Lansing Community College Police turned over a videotape which apparently showed that McCollum was somewhere else on campus at the time of Carolyn Kronenburg's murder. Why such evidence was not turned over earlier to the defense (it must have been available) will surely be a hot topic of discussion and surely contributed to the decision by Mr. Dunnings to seek a new trial. Other evidence from the Michigan State Police appears to have also been discovered (presumably evidence linking suspected serial killer Matthew Macon to the murder) but the nature of this evidence has not been confirmed.
Stuart Dunnings III
Grasha folllowed his articles on this development with a piece on the need for Lansing police to electronically record custodial interrogations of suspects and the ways in which recording of some of the earlier conversations between McCollum and Lansing Community College officers might have shed light on the reliability of his later incriminating statements. The McCollum case is sure to revive stalled efforts in the Michigan legislature to require recording of interrogations.
Today, the latest shoe dropped when the appeals court granted McCollum's motion for a new trial. Next to come will be new bond hearings which will tell us just how hard the prosecution is willing to fight to keep a potentially innocent man in prison. Meanwhile, the coverage of the case is moving from the front page and the metro section to the columnists and should soon penetrate the editorial board. Although McCollum is not yet a free man and is not "exonerated", these developments track those of many other exonerations so such results may not be too far off in the future. Stay tuned.