MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. (WJBK) - A Macomb Township man is charged with murdering his elderly father.
His attorney questions whether there was really a murder at all, and now the defense wants to dig up the body.
Gregory Nieman, 55, called 911 to say his 89-year-old father was not breathing and was cold to the touch at the townhouse they shared in Macomb Township near Garfield and M-59.
That phone call happened in December 2015.
Macomb County deputies arrived and declared 89-year-old Donald Nieman deceased.
The medical examiner ruled homicide, death by manual strangulation.
Gregory Nieman has been in jail since accused of murder.
He was convicted and sentenced to life with no chance of parole.
"He is a very determined very forceful very credible sounding individual who has said he didn't do it he's never varied from that at all," said defense attorney Joseph Kosmala.
Kosmala filed a motion for the court to order a very rare disinterment. That is to exhume the casket containing the human remains from the grave.
"And having practiced in this county for 43 years I haven't seen it before," Kosmala said.
Gregory Nieman has no criminal history, according to Kosmala, who believes there were questions not answered during the autopsy.
"Unlike most cases you don't have witnesses. You don't have fingerprints. You don't have a weapon. You don't have blood. You don't have DNA. All you have is a medical examiner saying I think this person was killed and the only person in the area was the defendant," said Kosmala.
He says Donald Nieman had various health issues so Kosmala will seek another medical examiner from outside Macomb County.
"Now if another medical examiner comes along and says I don't think this person was killed, I think he had a heart attack, I think he had liver failure, I think he had over excitement, I think he fell down and broke his neck -- a jury probably could not convict," said Kosmala.
The judge has six weeks to decide if they will exhume the body.