вторник, 10 июня 2008 г.

Charlestone trial

"48 Hours Mystery" will be back in town today filming for its upcoming program on convicted killer Michelle Michael.

The primetime news series has been covering the Michael case since 2006 and filmed her recent Charleston trial.

In July, Michael was convicted of first-degree murder and firstdegree arson for the November 2005 poisoning of her husband, James.

Producer Tim Gorin said crews will film shots of Prosecuting Attorney Marcia Ashdown, and do interviews with fire officials and members from both Michelle and James Michael's families today. Filming will take place in Morgantown and Michelle Michael's hometown of Clarksburg.

They also did some interviews in Morgantown a few weeks ago and will be here again in September for Michael's sentencing.

The hour-long show is scheduled to air sometime early next year, but could run as soon as this fall, Gorin said.

It will include an interview with Michael.

"She's a very interesting person, a very interesting person," Gorin said. "I hope that conveys in our interview."

Gorin said Michael continued to maintain her innocence to 48 Hours correspondent Susan Spencer.

"Michelle was what we think was fairly candid," Gorin said. "You'll have to see how it turns out."

Gorin said the crime itself and the thorough investigation make the case an interesting story.

Michelle Michael killed her husband with a fatal dose of a nondepolarizing neuromuscular drug, which causes paralysis. James Michael would've struggled to breathe for several minutes before he died, witnesses testified at trial.

Then, Michelle Michael set their Killarney Drive house on fire to cover up the crime.

Ashdown said the case was suspicious from the start.

"When you first hear what sounds like a tragedy, a house destroyed by fire, and then you find out there's a body inside, you want to believe it's a horrible accident, but from the beginning, people were suspicious," Ashdown said.

James Michael was a young, healthy man found dead in his own bed. He made no effort to get away from the fire, Ashdown said. It just didn't add up.

She wasn't surprised when the case became popular in the local media -- and then the national media.

"I think the professions of all of the people involved, the extremely unusual mode of death and the attempt to cover up the crime by setting fire to your own house gets your attention," Ashdown said.

She said it was unusual to try a case, knowing it would be featured on national television.

"Although some cases in the past have been high profile, it's usually been of local interest," Ashdown said. "This is something that has caught the attention of a national media outlet."

She and Assistant Prosecutor Perri DeChristopher just tried to ignore it, though, and do their jobs.

Crews from "48 Hours Mystery" hid cameras in large, cabinet-like pieces during the trial.

"There were times when you could let those thoughts subside, but then there were times you'd realize those pieces of tall furniture in the courtroom were really cameras," Ashdown said.

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