Witness in hunting case feared for her life
She says threats made her keep killings secret
October 22, 2003
BY HUGH MCDIARMID JR., Detroit Free Press
STANDISH -- The prosecution's star witness in the murder trial of two brothers fell to pieces in tears and tremors and bolted for the courtroom's exit door Tuesday.
That was before she even made it to the witness stand.
Barbara Boudro, the only person described as seeing the 1985 killings, eventually gained her composure and testified that she watched in horror as Raymond and Donald Duvall pummeled two hunters from metro Detroit, Brian Ognjan and David Tyll, to death in a rural field near her northern Michigan home.
"The taller one (Tyll) was trying to get on his knees and saying 'Please God, help us.' " Boudro said. Donald Duvall swung a bat at Tyll's head, and the sound "was like if you just drop a pumpkin, and there was just blood."
The Duvalls and three unidentified men "just laughed, and said 'Did you see that?' " Boudro said. The men then ridiculed Ognjan, who had wet his pants in fear, before kicking and punching him to death.
Boudro, a self-described "hard partyer" who visited bars almost nightly during the 1980s, kept the story secret for years, she said, because she had been threatened by the Duvalls and their friends.
In 1999, acting on a tip, State Police Det. Sgt. Robert (Bronco) Lesneski arrived at her home. "He wanted to come in, and I said no. I was nervous and crying. I said he was going to get me killed."
She said she was aware of reward money, which has accumulated to $100,000, but said: "I wouldn't live to spend it."
Over the course of several police interviews and in a special investigative hearing where she was placed under oath, Boudro said she finally told her story.
She said she had been at the Linker's Lounge bar near her Mio home when Tyll of Troy and Ognjan of St. Clair Shores came in and began harassing her and other patrons.
The Duvalls showed up and "zeroed in" on the hunters. Later, Duvall friends arrived. "I knew there was going to be trouble," she said.
She and a friend went to her home, less than 2 miles from the bar. When they went to investigate the sounds of arguing later that night, they saw the killings, she said. Her friend, Ronald Emery of the Mio area, has since died.
Defense attorneys subjected Boudro to an onslaught of questions about dozens of inconsistencies in the various statements she has made since 1999.
Boudro admitted she had lied or misled investigators on numerous occasions in an effort to keep herself from having to testify against men she feared.
Boudro said she may have had more than nine mixed drinks the night of the killings.
The trial, before 23rd Circuit Court Judge Ronald Bergeron, will continue today with more cross-examination of Boudro.
Nov. 22, 1985: Brian Ognjan, a mechanic from St. Clair Shores, and childhood buddy David Tyll, a machinist from Troy, both 27, depart for a weekend hunting trip in northern Michigan. They don't return.
1987: A warrant states that in a 1987 Duvall family gathering in Wixom, two witnesses overhear two Duvall brothers -- Raymond (J.R.), 52, of the South Branch area and his brother Donald (Coco), 51, of Monroe -- admit they had dismembered the bodies of Ognjan and Tyll and fed them to pigs.
1995: The lengths to which the brothers allegedly went to intimidate witnesses comes out during testimony in a separate murder case. May 15, 2003: The Duvall brothers are arraigned on two first-degree murder charges and held without bond in the Montmorency County Jail.
Oct. 20, 2003: Trial of the Duvall brothers begins in Standish, where it was moved because of the extensive publicity in Mio.
Contact HUGH McDIARMID JR. at 248-586-2611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff "Jesse" James - Owner of Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors
You can always tell who's in 2nd place by who's whining and crying the most. - Old hockey coach.
Dum spiramus tuebimur
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"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a brave and scarce man, hated and scorned. When the cause succeeds, however, the timid join him... for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." -Mark Twain
Whoever would do something that atrocious (SP) shouldn't be allowed to live. I hope that justice will be done in this case. I wonder if they might be alive today had they been armed. We will never know, but its something to consider because of all the sicko crazies in this world.