(CENTREVILLE) – The murder trial of a Colon man is moving on to St. Joseph County Circuit Court.
Officials with St. Joseph County District Court say that 35 year old Michael Lafler had his case bound over to Circuit Court, following a preliminary hearing last week. Lafler is charged with murdering his girlfriend, 33 year old Chelsea Wallen on October 15, 2021 at her home on Abbott Street in Colon.
Lafler has claimed that he and Wallen had been arguing at her home, and Lafler went upstairs after being slapped by Wallen. When he came back downstairs, Wallen was unresponsive. He told first responders he tried to resuscitate her but was not successful. Lafler says Wallen died from a heart attack, and they had both used cocaine.
Police say Wallen had injuries to her face, right eye, neck and arm, including bruising and bite marks.
An autopsy determined that Wallen’s death was due to asphyxia/strangulation.
The case was moved back to District Court by Circuit Court Judge Paul Stutesman, who sided with a motion by the defense that a previous attorney did not properly represent Lafler. Randall Levine, who has been retained by Lafler, says his client’s former attorney, John McDonough, did not effectively represent Lafler, which caused him to waive his original preliminary hearing in District Court.
Lafler’s bond remains at $1 million. Circuit Court officials say no date has been set for Lafler’s arraignment or trial.