Murder trial jury selection starts Tuesday
Published 11:11 pm Monday, March 6, 2006
By By NORMA LERNER / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS - Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Tuesday in Cass County Circuit Court for the trial of a former Niles area man charged with open murder and felony firearm.
Michael Dunnuck, 34, is accused of shooting William Whittaker, 42, at his camper at 3136 M-51 North 16 years ago in Pokagon Township.
The murder was investigated as a cold case by the Cass County Prosecutor's Office and Michigan State Police, Niles post, with officials stating Whittaker was found dead at the kitchen table of his camper trailer on March 7, 1990, shot through the head with a .22- caliber bullet.
Dunnuck reported finding Whittaker's body and had been described as a person of interest since early in the case, said Prosecutor Victor Fitz during a press conference last summer.
Dunnuck was 19 at the time and was attending Central Michigan University.
Felony firearm is punishable by a mandatory two-year prison term to be served consecutively to any other sentence. Open murder carries a penalty of life in prison or any term of years.
At the conference, 1st Lt. Michael Brown, Niles post commander, said, “This is an excellent example of how renewed investigative efforts can solve challenging cases such as this 15-year-old homicide.”
Dunnuck was arrested Aug. 23 by state police at his 16027 Murray Road residence in Byron, northeast of Lansing.
The motive for the murder is indicated as robbery, according to police.
They said numerous silver bars were found missing from Whittaker's trailer immediately after the killing. Investigative cold-case team members said the silver bars, worth about $2,000, were purchased as an apparent investment by Whittaker and have not been recovered, nor has the murder weapon. Fitz said Whittaker and Dunnuck knew each other.
The trial is expected to last through the week.