Edmond Doheny — seen here in Grosse Pointe Woods Municipal Court Oct. 9 — is accused of murdering his younger brother, Dennis Doheny.

Edmond Doheny — seen here in Grosse Pointe Woods Municipal Court Oct. 9 — is accused of murdering his younger brother, Dennis Doheny.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Case against Grosse Pointe Woods man accused of killing brother moves forward

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 18, 2023

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — The case against a Grosse Pointe Woods man accused of murdering his brother will now move downtown to 3rd Circuit Court in Detroit.

During a preliminary examination Dec. 13 in Grosse Pointe Woods Municipal Court, Judge Theodore Metry agreed with prosecutors to bind over defendant Edmond Doheny for trial on charges of open murder and felony firearm. Doheny is accused of fatally shooting his youngest sibling, brother Dennis Doheny, 19, in the head Oct. 6 at the Grosse Pointe Woods home of their grandmother.

Dennis Doheny’s girlfriend of the last two years, Isabella Philippo, was the first witness called to the stand by Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor James Kehoe. Philippo said she and her cousin, Emma Miller, were using the platform Discord — which Philippo likened to FaceTime — to communicate with Dennis Doheny and celebrate his 19th birthday.

They began using Discord the evening of Oct. 5, the day before Dennis Doheny’s birthday Oct. 6. While they were using the video feature on Discord, Philippo said, she could see that Dennis Doheny was in his bedroom. Later, she started texting her boyfriend. At around 12:33 a.m. Oct. 6, Philippo said, Dennis Doheny stopped communicating with her and Miller, but the audio portion of his Discord feed remained on.

“We heard a male voice crying,” Philippo said. She said she and Miller heard the male — who they assumed at that time to be Dennis Doheny — say, “‘I’m so sorry,’” and “‘Hold your head.’”

Miller corroborated that testimony during her time on the witness stand.

“Dennis stopped responding to us and we heard muffled voices and a male voice, high-pitched, obviously in distress,” Miller said. She said she didn’t know who that male voice belonged to at the time.

Grosse Pointe Woods public safety officer Jarod Smith, who was the first officer to respond to the scene, said Edmond Doheny met police at a door on the west side of the home, near the spot where he had placed his brother on the kitchen floor. Smith said Edmond Doheny was “very shaken up (and) appeared to be intoxicated at the time.” He also said Edmond Doheny was “sweaty” and “covered in blood — both his arms, face, neck.” Smith said Edmond Doheny was applying pressure to his brother’s wound.

Later that morning, in a holding cell in the Woods after his arrest, Smith said he heard Doheny say, “‘Please forgive me — he was such a good boy,’” and “‘I’m going to hell.’”

Police recovered a single empty 9 mm shell casing consistent with the AR 9 mm pistol found near the computer chair where Dennis Doheny was sitting when he was shot.

“At some point … there was a single gunshot fired,” Kehoe said. “(It) entered through the back of Mr. (Dennis) Doheny’s skull and exited out the front.”

Grosse Pointe Woods Detective Miles Adams, who also responded to the scene, said they recovered other guns in the home as well, but the pistol was the only one that had blood on it.

When questioned by Doheny’s defense attorney, Robert Ihrie, Adams said that to the best of his knowledge, all the weapons they recovered were legally owned and purchased. The suppressor on the AR pistol was legal as well, Adams said.

A suppressor on the gun, Kehoe said, is the reason neither Philippo nor Miller reported hearing a loud noise before Dennis Doheny ceased communication with them.

“The suppressor muffled or muted the sound (of the gunshot),” Kehoe said.

Ihrie asked Philippo about the relationship between Edmond and Dennis Doheny.

She said she had never seen them argue, only tease each other the way brothers often do.

“From my point of view, they had a good relationship,” Philippo said.

Neither Miller nor police had personal knowledge of the relationship between the brothers.

Ihrie, who has insisted from the beginning that the shooting was a tragic accident, asked the court to dismiss the open murder charge. Open murder contains both the charges of first-degree murder and second-degree murder; it’s up to a jury to decide whether the evidence shows that the defendant is guilty of first- or second-degree murder.

“There has been zero evidence of premeditation in this case. … This is a gross overcharge in this case,” Ihrie said. “I believe if the Prosecutor’s Office had any evidence of malice, they would have brought it forward.”

Kehoe argued that proving guilt of second-degree murder doesn’t require evidence of malice, nor is the word “malice” included in the state’s definition of second-degree murder.

“When you point a gun at the back of someone’s head … there’s only one thing that could happen,” Kehoe said.

Kehoe added that Edmond Doheny being intoxicated at the time of the shooting “doesn’t matter” with regard to intent.

Ihrie agreed that the prosecution doesn’t need to show premeditation in an open murder charge, “but they have to show intent. … There was no testimony by anybody that (Edmond Doheny) pointed a gun at anybody. … Guns go off all the time and hit people mistakenly. … That does not equate to intent.”

He said none of the witnesses claimed to have seen Edmond Doheny pointing a gun at anyone.

“It may have been he was holding a gun,” Ihrie said of his client.

Ihrie also argued that there “was no reckless behavior that was shown” by the prosecution.

“This was just a terrible, terrible accident,” Ihrie said after the hearing.

Kehoe said the remarks made by Edmond Doheny after the shooting “are statements of admission.”

At press time, Edmond Doheny was scheduled to appear in 3rd Circuit Court for an arraignment on information at 9 a.m. Jan. 3. A judge hadn’t been assigned to the case before the Dec. 21 issue of the Grosse Pointe Times went to press.