Detroit Man Charged with 1983 Murder


Do you think evidence is needed to convict a man of murder?

What if that evidence was lost or damaged?

In December of 1983, Andrew (Melvin) Wether was murdered in Highland Park, Michigan. Just like a scene out of a movie, Melissa Kountz, who had been there on that December day, said that she woke up to the sound of her mother’s voice. She tried turning on the lights only to find that they were not working. Kountz said that she saw a “dark shadow” and “I could smell like a stale stench of cigarette smoke”. Possibly to cushion the sound of the creaky floors, someone had left brown shoes with sponges.

The case had gone cold until Melissa Kountz called Detective Paul Thomas of the Highland Park Police Department in February of this year. In July, William (Bosco) Lyles Jr. was arrested in Oak Park for first degree murder. Yesterday, he was ordered to stand trial at the Wayne Circuit Court.

Lyles had a relationship with Kountz’s mother. According to the Detroit Free Press:

“Kountz described Lyles’ relationship with her mother as violent and abusive. She said he lived with her family for about four years before moving out in the summer of 1983.”I also remember him blaming Melvin for all of their problems,” Kountz testified. “He said … he was going to get Melvin.””

Kountz identifies Lyles as the shadow she had seen that December day in 1983. Not only that, but she identifies the brown shoes also belonging to Lyles. Kountz testified that Melvin had been stabbed through the chest and the knife was poking out of his back.

However, the former Wayne County Medicial Examiner, Sawait Kanluen, also testified earlier saying there had been no exit wound. With that, the defense is questioning Kountz’s memory.

With this case being almost a 30 year old case that can come with a price, the evidence such as the photographs, the knife, Lyles’ diary that is said the hold murder vows, the shoes and the police reports were not maintained. Thomas said this:

“We’re not focused on what’s missing, what didn’t happen, what should have happened,” Thomas said. “We think we can win this case strictly on circumstantial evidence and the evidence of the eyewitness.”

What do you think? Is there a need for evidence in a 29 year old case?

8 comments on “Detroit Man Charged with 1983 Murder
  1. abby smith says:

    I think evidence is still evidence even how old is it. For me, even how many years have passed, the proof is still there. If I am not mistaken, I think the police have all the files in a portfolio. If the medical examiner’s version of the story is conflicting with what Kountz said, I suggest that they should look at the portfolios and medical records. And to answer the question, do you think evidence is needed to convict a man of murder even the evidences are the damaged? In my opinion, the best way to know the truth is still having a witness.

    • Hi Abby, Thank you for stopping by. Evidence, especially DNA can help either the prosecution or the defense, but cases that old can be won without evidence.

  2. Alicia Peterson says:

    I just finished watching this case on the show, Murder Book. It was a very good showing of how even back in 1983 evidence and a warrant had been issued on the correct suspect. However, upon further investigations into this case, it saddens me to see that after 3 decades that the man who killed “Melvin” so visciously and so intentionally that his conviction has been thrown out. Please tell me that this is not the truth?

  3. tiny says:

    Bologna eye witnesses make mistakes in current cases so why would we depend on a witness who saw a figure in the dark 30 yrs ago to be accurate testimony? Bull TRUE EVIDENCE IS THE FAIR WAY TO OBTAIN A CONVICTION. Without evidence i can’t see there being a fair trial in anyway. Anyone can get up there, create/make up a story that sounds good and belivable and send possibly an innocent person to jail or execution. with this being the case why in the hell do we need to pay a high priced lawyer to get up there and LIE…

  4. tiny says:

    lets stick with the facts…and what can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt…not what coulda woulda might have happened. I coulda woulda might have, been a white elephant but Im not. The justice system needs to do better. BOY if I could change somethings in this gov’t system, I’d be on it right a way. It’s time to raise the bar and make everyone accountable…some things have got to change. oh well i must pick my battles. IF ONLY MY VOICE COULD BE HEARD. I’D PUT SOME THINGS ON SOME MINDS OF THOSE MAKING THESE MAJOR DECISIONS

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