MOUNT CLEMENS (WWJ/AP) – Sixty dollars worth of makeup is being used to hide a Michigan defendant’s forehead tattoos from a jury during his trial in the 2011 death of a 69-year-old woman.
Joseph Reiner apparently got the devil’s horns tattooed just above his eyebrows by a fellow inmate while locked up after the attack. The forehead tattoos were first seen when the 28-year-old showed up for a court hearing last year.
Reiner’s tattoos, however, weren’t visible during jury selection Wednesday in Mount Clemens. That’s because Reiner asked to hide the tattoos for the trial, according to his attorney Timothy Barkovic — who said he agreed to cover up the ink in order to reduce any negative impact they might have on jurors’ perceptions.
“As far as I’m concerned, they’re unsightly tattoos,” Barkovic told The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens. “Scientific studies have shown that jurors look at a criminal defendant and make an initial observation within the first five minutes of the trial — that (the defendant) is probably innocent or probably guilty, and carry that through the length of the trial.”
Barkovic said the cost for the makeup, as well as clothes for Reiner, is included in his court-appointed defense bill.
Police say Reiner broke into Eisenhardt’s residence on Fairchild Street in broad daylight on Feb. 23, 2011, kicked in the woman’s front door and attacked.
Eisenhardt, who was found with two knives in her neck, was able to call 911 after the attack and give a description of her assailant. Police captured Reiner in New York after a multi-state chase ensued when he was clocked doing 65 in a 55 zone.
Assistant Macomb County Prosecutor William Cataldo said Eisenhardt died of a heart attack in September, after being in an out of rehabilitation centers and suffering from infections.
Cataldo said statements by the medical examiner indicate that Eisenhardt’s death was caused by injuries suffered in the attack. The defense says prosecutors can’t prove Eisenhardt’s death was caused by the stabbing.
The trial is expected to take more than a week to complete.
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