Man Serving Life Without Parole for Murder Conviction Denied Appeal for New Trial

Mark Abraitis, a 26-year-old Saginaw man who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 2011, has been denied an appeal for a new trial by the Michigan Court of Appeals. Abraitis was sentenced to life without parole, and is now serving out his sentence at the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee.

The defendant was charged with first-degree premeditated murder after being accused of shooting Francine Conversa-Redburn on April 25 of 2011. Abraitis appealed his sentencing, asking for a new trial based on several claims including one that he believed the evidence for a jury to determine that the murder was premeditated was insufficient. Appellate judges did not agree with Abraitis’ assertion, and denied his appeal.

According to news reports at, testimony indicated that Abraitis and the victim worked together at a Saginaw Township restaurant, and that they were involved in a relationship. Conversa-Redburn allegedly broke off the relationship the night before the shooting, which took place early the next morning. Testimony at the trial indicated that the defendant took the victim, who was 48 years old, from her residence to a field in Swan Creek Township along Thomas Rd. where he shot her in the head, then moved her body into a ditch filled with water and covered it with cardboard.

While Abraitis felt that the evidence was insufficient to show that the murder was premeditated, he also claimed to have inefficient counsel, saying that his attorney should have presented an insanity defense. The defendant also claimed that two autopsy photos were erroneously admitted by the judge in the case, and that his attorney, Eldor Herrmann, should have sought a change of venue and an independent psychological examination. The appellate judges disagreed with all of the claims made by Abraitis, denying his appeal for a new trial.

Michigan post-conviction defense attorneys understand that winning an appeal is not easy, and requires the expertise of a skilled and capable lawyer. Many individuals are wrongly convicted or receive sentences they feel are extremely harsh in comparison to the crime they have been accused of committing.

If you believe that justice has not been served or have been convicted of a crime you did not commit, consult with an experienced Michigan criminal appeals lawyer immediately.

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