Joint Motion Asks Michigan Appeals Court for New Trial for McCollum

By: Lori Dougovito Email
By: Lori Dougovito Email

Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III made the announcement at a news conference Friday morning.

Dunnings and McCollum's attorney, Peter Ellenson filed a joint motion with the Michigan Court of Appeals Friday morning.

Claude McCollum is serving a life sentence for the 2005 murder of LCC Professor Carolyn Kronenberg. He was convicted though he did not confess and the DNA evidence found did not match his.

Just last week, Dunnings reopened the investigation into her death citing something missing from McCollum's appeal process. He asked police to reevaluate the evidence.

"Working with police from Lansing Community College and the State of Michigan, new evidence has come to light. I believe this evidence is substantial enough to merit a new trial for Mr. McCollum," Dunnings says.

McCollum's attorney, Peter Ellenson, will not say what that new evidence is. "The evidence, in my mind, is powerful. The evidence, now available, if it was presented to a jury, a jury would find him not guilty," says Ellenson.

An appeal is already pending, both Dunnings and Ellenson have asked for oral arguments scheduled for October 2, to be delayed. They could just be dismissed if the motion for a new trial is granted.

It's unclear when the court of appeals will act on the motion for a new trial. Both Dunnings and Ellenson expect it will be granted.

Dunnings could also just dismiss the charges against McCollum altogether, however, that's not likely at this time. It's also unlikely McCollum will be released from prison now or during a new trial if one is granted.

It's not clear if suspected serial killer Matthew Macon will be linked to Kronenberg's death.

The Prosecutor's statement at the Friday news conference follows:

Earlier this month, the murder case against Claude McCollum, in the
death of Carolyn Kronenberg, was reopened by our office. Working with
police from Lansing Community College and the State of Michigan, new
evidence has come to light. I believe this evidence is substantial
enough to merit a new trial for Mr. McCollum. Earlier today, I filed a
motion for a new trial with the Michigan Court of Appeals, jointly with
Mr. McCollum’s attorney.

The investigation into the death of Carolyn Kronenberg is ongoing. I
am not going to speculate as to the guilt or innocence of any person, or
discuss specifics of the evidence, as there may be an upcoming trial in
this case.

As Prosecutor, it is my job to seek justice for the people of Ingham
County. As soon as I became aware of new information regarding the
death of Ms. Kronenberg, I moved to re-open the case. At every step of
this investigation, I have immediately informed Mr. McCollum’s
attorney of these developments.

While our criminal justice system is imperfect, it provides the accused
and even the convicted with access to the courts. Even as Mr. McCollum
has been incarcerated, the legal process has continued. Our office will
continue to seek justice not only for Mr. McCollum, but also for the
victim in this case, Professor Kronenberg.

I would like to thank the Michigan State Police for their efforts in
this phase of the investigation. When they became aware of my concern
that Mr. McCollum may be entitled to a new trial, they promptly devoted
the efforts of their forensic scientist to the investigation. The
assistance that they, and the Lansing Community College Police, are able
to provide local law enforcement is absolutely essential to
investigations such as this, and our office relies on their professional
competence on a daily basis. I would also like to thank the Kronenberg
family for their understanding during this difficult time.

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