The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

September 27, 2011

Witness describes suspicious person

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. — A witness on Tuesday described one of two suspicious characters wearing a fake beard and mustache outside a Clinton Township comic book store minutes before the murder of Barbara George.

Fred Hodgson’s testimony from the first Michael George trial was recited in Macomb County Circuit Court in Mount Clemens.

Michael George later remarried and moved to Windber.

Hodgson said he saw a “slightly built” young male or woman with pretend facial hair and possibly a hood and sunglasses while they approached Comics World.

Hodgson, who resides out of state and was unavailable, said the person turned the corner of the strip-mall building (Comics World was the second store from the north) but noticed Hodgson staring and turned and went back around the corner.

“It looked very out of place,” he said.

“What caught my eye was they were dressed in disguise

… a big bushy fake beard and mustache. … It was obviously fake.”

Hodgson was with Joe Gray.

“I told Joe, ‘Did you see that guy with the fake beard?’ I thought it was weird.”

Hodgson, whose testimony was read by Tom Krall, a Macomb Prosecutor’s Office intern, later said the person could have been female and did not match the description of the bigger Michael George.

Hodgson in 2007 provided information to police in Maryland for a composite that included a hood and sunglasses.

But Hodgson agreed with police reports in which he didn’t mention a hood or sunglasses.

The testimony seemed to help support the defense’s theory of another culprit robbing the store and killing 32-year-old Barbara George in the back room July 13, 1990, in Michael George’s murder retrial in front of a jury and Judge Mary Chrzanowski.

George’s 2008 conviction of first-degree murder was overturned by the trial judge due to new evidence, conflicting proof and prosecutorial misconduct.

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