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Michael Cristini

Other Michigan Cases with Perjury or False Accusations
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On August 8, 1990, Maureen Fournier was abducted from Warren, Michigan, raped, and viciously assaulted. She was found naked and partially disemboweled, but alive, on a Detroit street the next morning. 
 
At the hospital, she told police that she had been attacked by Jeffrey Moldowan, her ex-boyfriend, and three of his friends, including Michael Cristini. All four were quickly arrested. 
 
Charges against two of them were dropped because both had solid alibis.
 
Cristini and Moldowan went on trial on April 30, 1991 in Macomb County Circuit Court. The primary evidence consisted of Fournier’s testimony and testimony about bite marks on Fournier from Dr. Alan Warnick, a dentist and a forensic consultant to Macomb County as well as other Michigan counties and the Michigan State police, and from Dr. Pamela Hammel, a colleague of Warnick’s who also was a dentist.

Warnick testified that a bite mark on Fournier’s neck was made by Moldowan and that bite marks on Fournier’s right arm right side were left by Cristini. Hammel testified in rebuttal for the prosecution that she had examined the photographs of the marks and that she agreed with Warnick’s conclusions.

Cristini and Moldowan offered evidence that they were not together that night, with Cristini being at work delivering pizzas. The jury convicted both of rape, kidnapping and assault on May 13, 1991. Moldowan was sentenced to 60 to 90 years in prison and Cristini was sentenced to 50 to 75 years in prison. 
 
After the conviction, Moldowan’s family hired an investigator who found a witness who said that he had seen four black men standing around a naked woman lying on the street on the morning that the victim was found. Cristini and Moldowan are white.

More important, Hammel, recanted her testimony, saying that after re-examining the evidence, she concluded that neither Moldowan nor Cristini were the source of the bite marks.

Hammel said that when she examined the evidence prior to trial, she had difficulty initially linking the men. However, Warnick assured her that a third odontologist had reviewed the evidence and confirmed his assessment that the Moildowan and Cristini left the bite marks. Hammel said that Warnick's assurance gave her the confidence to testify that the markes were made by Moldowan and Cristini. Hammel also learned that no other expert actually had examined the evidence as Warnick claimed. Hammell said that had she known the truth, she would not have testified at all at the trial.
 
On May 15, 2002, citing the new evidence, the Michigan Supreme Court granted Moldowan a new trial. On February 12, 2003, Moldowan was acquitted by a jury in his retrial.
 
Carl Marlinga, the Macomb County prosecutor, helped Moldowan win a new trial by filing a brief which said that Moldowan suffered actual prejudice from the incomplete and misleading evidence presented to his jury. Marlinga was later indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of soliciting political contributions from a friend of Moldowan in return for writing the brief. Ultimately, Marlinga was acquitted of any wrongdoing. 
 
Cristini was granted a new trial by the Macomb County Circuit Court on October 20, 2003 on the same grounds as Moldowan. In addition, Cristini had developed stronger alibi evidence from time cards and co-workers that he was at work on the night in question. He also obtained another bite mark analyst who testified that Cristini could not have been one of people who had bitten Fournier because he had a gap in his front teeth that was not reflected in any of the bites. In his retrial, Cristini was acquitted by a jury on April 8, 2004. 
 
Moldowan and Cristini filed wrongful conviction lawsuits and in November, 2011, Moldowan settled his case against Macomb County and the city of Warren for $2,800,000, against prosecution odontologist Allan Warnick for $50,000 and against the county for $150,000. Cristini settled his lawsuit for $1.5 million.
 
– Michael S. Perry

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
State:Michigan
County:Macomb
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:Assault, Kidnapping
Reported Crime Date:1990
Convicted:1991
Exonerated:2004
Sentence:44 to 60 years
Race:White
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:26
Contributing Factors:False or Misleading Forensic Evidence, Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No