2 brothers found guilty of murdering hunters

Discussion in 'Sound Off (MichiganForums.com)' started by Melon, Oct 29, 2003.

  1. 2 brothers found guilty of murdering hunters

    Wednesday, October 29, 2003


    STANDISH - For almost two decades, the mystique shrouding the Duvall brothers' involvement in the disappearance of two metro Detroit hunters mushroomed like an urban legend.

    The legend crashed down on top of the pair Wednesday in the 120 minutes it took jurors to find them guilty of first-degree murder in the bludgeoning deaths of Brian Ognjan of St. Clair Shores and David Tyll of Troy.

    Raymond (J.R.) Duvall, 52, and Donald (Coco) Duvall, 51, now face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole for the 1985 murders on a cold, dark, rural road near Mio.

    For the families of the murdered men, it was a bittersweet moment.

    ``They took my son. It doesn't bring him back, but it's something,'' said Tyll's father, Arthur Tyll. He quivered with emotion outside the courtroom as he leaned unsteadily on a silver metal cane. ``I was glad to see them cuffed, and I can't wait to see them in chains.''

    The jury's quick verdict stunned many observers who had settled in for a long stretch of deliberations over mountains of evidence presented in the 7-day trial before 23rd Circuit Judge Ronald Bergeron.

    Police escorted jury members, who declined comment, to their cars after the verdict.

    As the word ``guilty'' came from the jury foreman, Raymond Duvall dropped his head on the defense table briefly. Donald Duvall sat stoically. Some of their family members wept quietly as the pair left the courtroom in handcuffs. The family members declined comment as they hurried from the building.

    The hunters' disappearance 18 years ago - over the weekend of Nov. 23-24 - sparked an intensive manhunt that attracted national publicity and examinations of the case on TV shows like ``Unsolved Mysteries.''

    Dozens of lakes and rivers were searched, fields dug up, cadaver dogs called in, aerial searches conducted and ground-penetrating radar employed. Police even acted on tips from psychics, but no trace of the men, their belongings or their truck was found.

    The investigation, spearheaded by the Michigan State Police, eventually focused on the Duvalls, two of a tightly knit clan of seven brothers who were known as hard-drinking, hot-tempered brawlers.

    Donald and Raymond Duvall spent much of the 1980s living in a succession of trailers and small houses in the heavily forested woods of northeast Lower Michigan. They cut firewood and dealt in junk cars for a living, supplementing their incomes with poached fish and game.

    According to testimony at their trial, the Duvalls bragged of the murders to family members and friends, who seldom told police because they feared retaliation. The brothers told several people they disposed of the bodies by feeding them to pigs.

    The testimony painted Raymond and Donald Duvall as ruthless men who were quick with fists and threats, brawling frequently with their brothers and sometimes with their wives and girlfriends.

    More than a half-dozen witnesses cited terror and threats as factors in not coming forward with information.

    ``Their human faces are nothing more than masks for monsters,'' said Donna Pendergast, assistant state attorney general, in her closing argument Wednesday.

    She shot frequent glares in the Duvalls' direction as she lobbied jurors. The crime ``is an evil so dark your worst nightmare pales in comparison,'' she said. ``There is no understanding of pure evil, only the recognition of what it is.''

    Despite the campaign of fear, witness statements trickled out over the years, including sealed testimony from the Duvalls' own brothers at a 1990 Oakland County grand jury hearing. The final piece to the puzzle came in 1999, when a tip led State Police Detective Sgt. Robert (Bronco) Lesneski to the doorstep of Barbara Boudro.

    For several years, she refused to fully cooperate out of fear the Duvalls would kill her, she said. Finally, under oath at a special hearing this year, she admitted to being a witness to the beating in a field near her home.

    There, she said, she watched as Donald Duvall crushed Tyll's skull with a baseball bat before the two brothers beat Ognjan to death with punches and kicks.

    ``I've never had a trial quite like this,'' Pendergast said. ``We had a witness who had some problems,'' she said, referring to Boudro's nervousness and hard-drinking lifestyle. ``But I'm glad after all these years we went for it. I thought the family deserved closure after 18 years.''

    Defense attorneys said they planned to appeal the convictions.

    ``Certainly,'' said Seymour Schwartz, Donald Duvall's attorney. ``It's a murder conviction. You can't let it lie.''

    He said he was unsure on what grounds he would challenge the verdict, but said he thought the trial and judge were fair.

    Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said he is confident the verdict will stand if the case is appealed. ``We have the best prosecutor in the state doing the case,'' he said of Pendergast.

    Pendergast is married to Free Press columnist Brian Dickerson.

    Both Pendergast and Lesneski choked back tears after the verdict, accepting praise from dozens of Tyll and Ognjan family members who had sat through the trial. The men were both 27.

    Helen Ognjan, 84, spoke softly after the verdict. Brian Ognjan was her only child.

    ``I'm glad,'' she said. ``I'm just glad.''

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  2. Im kind of suprised they were convicted since there was not a single piece of physical evidence.

  3. Im glad justice was served.
  4. I gotta believe that justice was indeed served here. I believe they did do the crime. Purly on observation of their reactions as the guilty verdict was read. One drops his head on the table briefly and remains silent, the other "sat stoically". :rolleyes: I know if I had been the one on trial, and had NOT done the crime, then they bring back a guilty verdict, I would have LOST MY MIND SCREAMING OUT "I didn't do it !, no way it was me !, I'm innocent !, INNOCENT !!! I tell ya. :D sobbing, more sobbing, grumbling "not me", "it wasn't me". :eek:

    Hope they FRY !!!

    Whale :D :cool:
  5. I am a little shocked too. I am not defending these guys by any means, but you need evidence to convict people. You can't go into it "thinking they did it" or you wouldn't be serving justice. I recently sat on a jury and found the guy not guilty of felony possesion of a firearm. Do I think the guy had possesion of the gun? Absolutely. Did the prosecutor prove the case? Absolutely not. Not enough real evidence. I kept putting myself in that position and thought about how I would want people to judge the case.

    If the Duvall brothers did it, that is great that they are behind bars (provided they don't win appeal), but I am still surprised that they were found guilty. No bodies. No evidence. Sketchy witness accounts. I wouldn't want to be in that position. They may have been scum, but it doesn't sound like they proved the case.......of course I wasn't at the trial so what do I know. :confused:

    I feel very sorry for Barbara Boudro. Her life is going to suck now.
  6. They pretty much got them on the fact that they had multiple witnesses with the exact same story. The guys were last seen in the bar and had had some sort of confrontation with the Duvalls.

    Plus, one of the big reasons the police focused on them in the first place was they figured the Duvalls were some of the only people with the ability to dispose of both bodies and a vehicle. You may have noticed they dealt in junk vehicles.

    When you've got 6 or 7 people saying they were told the same
    thing, and all of the circumstancial evidence focueses on the same two guys, you occasionally do get convictions.

    What bothers me more is that these lowlifes sound like they've got a rap sheet a mile long for all sorts of stuff. At what point should they have been tossed in prison for that? How many poaching and assault convictions does someone need before we send them away?
  7. Bizare stuff. Sounds like they probably got the right people. Unfortunatly, I stress probably. I thought to be convicted it had to be beyond a resonable doubt. I find it hard to beleive a jury would only take 2 hours, on no evididence, to put someone a way for life. And I hope to God that no one ever say's I did something and I convicted because of the words of others. I'm not so sure the court system worked properly there.
    Last comment, how will the defense attorney appeal if he already stated that it was fair trial? I thought that once there is a judgement, the only things you can appeal is not the decision but procedures of the court.:confused:
  8. Too bad we citizens will now be paying for these 2 loosers at life.
    Of course we could have been paying all along.
  9. farmlegend

    farmlegend Say My Name.

    Poachers? Don't need to hear another word about lack of physical evidence. Lock 'em up.
  10. I read going in that the prosecution had a very compelling case. I've got to imagine that the corroborated testimony from multiple family members was the most damaging, especially when it goes to the lack of physical evidence.

    We've been carrying these guys for years but I'm sure the cost just went up.
  11. These two are scum...whatever they end up with is way better than they deserve. Shooting someone is one thing, it takes a whole differnt kind of animal to smash somebodies head with a baseball bat and kick another guy to death. Sad to think about that 84 yr. old mother having to hear all the grisly details of her sons murder. Even harder to think that this happens hundreds of times each day.

    We put way too many of these POS in prison. Line them all up once a year, I got a lot of guns to sight in annually!
  12. From what ive heard and read abou these guys they have witnesses whove said they had bragged about feeding them to pigs!!!!! what evidence can there be??? and threats against people... I think they wil get what was coming to them in one way or another.

    the scary part about all this is one of my students says they are his cousins and that hes hunted with them before. so he says ...he seems proud to be a kin to these criminals. could be BS but danm:eek: :rolleyes:
  13. I'll take a little more narrow minded view of the situation.......I think these two got exactly what they earned! I think our judicial system worked just fine in this case. Too often monsters like these guys get off on some technicality or find a way to beat the system. Not this time. A jury of peers obviously felt there was more than enough evidence and that the prosecution made the case to have a judgement so quickly.
  14. A jury of your peers + "the best prosecutor in the State" + fear of retribution if found innocent = a conviction!
  15. I live in Arenac Co., so I've heard about this case for years. There is no doubt the Duvall's are not your upstanding citizens of the community. They've been arrested for many things before. In my opinion, I don't see how they were convicted either. Without ANY evidence whatsoever, only what many witnesses said happened. I too, thought you had to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. No one on that jury had a single moment of doubt? This trial was only moved from Oscoda Co. to Arenac.....that's not far at all. Many, many people have had run-ins w/ the Duvall family. I don't think they could get a fair trial in this county either. I'm NOT sticking up for these guys (as it may sound) by any means. If they are guilty than justice was served. I just don't know if they should have been convicted and sentenced to life, on basically, heresay. Why wouldn't ONE of these witnesses step up and tell the police years ago, when there could have been evidence? I don't believe every single witness could have truly been in fear for their life, for that many years. Just my .02.


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