The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

August 7, 2007

Details emerge in murder case against Windber comic book store owner

WINDBER — In January, investigators in Macomb County, Mich., opened a cold-case file in the brutal shooting of 32-year-old Barbara Marie George.

They spent seven months poring over old evidence and interviewing 85 possible witnesses who might know what happened inside Comics World, a shop she co-owned with her husband, Michael Ralph George.

Now, police believe they have solved the mystery: They contend Michael George killed his wife with a semiautomatic handgun owned by someone else.

After George’s arrest in Windber last weekend on a bench warrant out of Michigan, Clinton Township police and Macomb County prosecutors released further details about the crime Tuesday.

“He was never ruled out as a suspect,” Clinton Township police Capt. Richard Maierle said in a telephone interview. “There is no smoking gun per se. Things happen, people talk and information develops.”

George, 46, owner of Comics World in Windber, is charged with first-degree murder and possession of a firearm to commit a felony.

He and his wife had co-owned the store in suburban Detroit for about two years when her body was found in the back of the store, shot execution-style.

An extradition hearing for George is scheduled for Thursday in Somerset County Court.

He is being held in the county jail without bond.

Barbara Marie George’s brother, Joe Kowynia, 44, told the Detroit Free Press that the family never lost hope the case would be solved.

“You go through your stages – angry at first,” he said. “You want to go after him, but you can’t prove it.”

Authorities said they have found no motive, but they said the couple had been having marital problems.

The shooting originally was thought to be a robbery, because $30,000 in comic books was found missing. Investigators discounted that theory when money and jewelry were found on the body, authorities said.

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