Appeals Court Upholds Life Sentence For Man In 2011 Iosco Twp. Murder
February 16, 2017
The Michigan Court of Appeals has affirmed the life sentence of a Webberville man in a 2011 Iosco Township murder.
26-year-old Anthony Sean Duke was convicted by a local jury in the murder of 47-year-old Ronald Hauser, who was found shot to death in his basement in December of 2011. Duke was sentenced as fourth time habitual offender to concurrent prison terms of life without parole for felony murder, and separate terms for 1st degree home invasion, larceny, felon in possession and various felony firearms charges. Hauser was known to carry around large sums of cash and Duke came to the attention of investigators when he posted to social media that he wondered how he would spend $30,000. He was arrested in June of 2014.
The Michigan Court of Appeals released an opinion this week affirming Duke’s sentence. Duke argued the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that it did not demonstrate he was at or in Hauser’s home on the date of the murder. The court disagreed, saying the circumstantial and firearm evidence constituted sufficient evidence to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that Duke shot Hauser to death at his home and then took money from his home. The opinion referenced the failed alibi, forensic evidence suggesting Duke had been at Hauser’s home with his gun, an earlier statement from Duke indicating he would kill Hauser to get his money and Duke’s admission that he had previously stolen from Hauser. The court also noted the fact Duke was in need of money at the time of the killing and appeared to have excess money afterwards and made big-ticket purchases.
Duke further argued that evidence about his research concerning polygraph examinations should be excluded because it was unfairly prejudicial. The COA said this was one item of evidence among several indicating the defendant acted and considered strategies to possibly conceal his involvement in the crime.
The full COA opinion is attached. (JM)