The family of the man sentenced to life in prison by a local judge accused of having an affair with a lead witness has decided to withdraw a motion seeking to set aside his murder conviction.

Jared Kowalski tells WHMI that Peter Van Hoek with the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office withdrew a motion alleging 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan was biased in favor of the prosecution during the 2013 trial of his father, Jerome Kowalski. The motion was filed following revelations from Judge Brennan’s divorce case that she was engaged in an affair with State Police Detective Sgt. Sean Furlong, who was the lead investigator in the 2008 double homicide of Jerome Kowalski’s brother and sister-in-law in their Oceola Township home. Furlong was also the chief witness during the 2013 trial, which ended up with Jerome Kowalski’s conviction, based largely on his confession to Furlong.

Kowalski quickly recanted the confession and has maintained his innocence. Brennan and Furlong say the affair began after the trial, but testimony indicated it began years earlier. Last week, State Police executed search warrants at Judge Brennan’s offices in Brighton and at her home. While they haven’t revealed what it was they were looking for, it’s known that computers were taken from her offices. Jared Kowalski indicated that the reason for withdrawing the motion to set aside his father’s conviction was what he called a “crucial” new angle that didn’t necessarily focus on the Brennan/Furlong affair. (JK)