Kupinski not guilty of murder in second degree

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published April 28, 2015

 Gerald Kupinski, pictured sitting in a Macomb County Circuit Courtroom April 15, was found not guilty April 28 of a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of an Eastpointe man.

Gerald Kupinski, pictured sitting in a Macomb County Circuit Courtroom April 15, was found not guilty April 28 of a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of an Eastpointe man.

File photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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A man accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of an Eastpointe man in December was found not guilty of that charge April 28.

Forty-one-year-old Gerald Kupinski, of St. Clair Shores, was accused of shooting 30-year-old Adam Abraham, of Eastpointe, the evening of Dec. 17 while Abraham was at Kupinski’s home in the 22000 block of 10 Mile Road and faced charges of second-degree murder, a felony firearm charge and possession of a firearm by a felon.

A jury in Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Edward Servitto Jr.’s court found him not guilty of second-degree murder and guilty on the remaining charges.

“I’m disappointed for the family, but it was a difficult case and I respect the efforts the jury put into listening to the evidence,” said Macomb County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Steve Fox.

Kupinski waived his right to testify April 27, after spending the past five days in the detoxification wing of the Macomb County Jail. Kupinski told Judge Edward Servitto Jr., however, that he was not suffering from withdrawal, but instead from a nervous breakdown after not having slept the prior eight days.

The trial began April 14 with jury selection and continued in Macomb Circuit Court until April 21. When court resumed April 22, the court notified jurors that Kupinski could not be in court that day because of his health and further matters were adjourned until April 27, when closing arguments began.

In his closing arguments, Fox told the jury that motive and planning were not an issue in the charge of second-degree murder.

But, he added, “You certainly don’t fire a second shot as a man was falling to the ground without knowing death was a likely result.”

He said Kupinski’s actions don’t reflect the imminent fear of death or great bodily harm necessary for a finding of self-defense: he didn’t call 911 when he heard Abraham knocking and, instead, let Abraham inside his house.

“In self-defense, fear is necessary,” Fox said. “Self-defense is a reactionary theory.”

But defense attorney Craig Tank said the jury must have believed that self-defense was justified.

“I would much have preferred he be convicted of nothing but, all things considered, it’s a verdict he can live with, I’ll tell you that,” Tank said. “He seemed quite pleased, yes.”

Fox said Kupinski faced a mandatory two years in prison for the felony firearm charge, and the penalty for felon in possession of a firearm would be served after that. But Tank said that, if Kupinski is sentenced to 42 months or less, he could be eligible for a 90-day boot camp for those with gun convictions “and come home.”

Kupinski is in the Macomb County Jail awaiting his sentencing date of June 3.

In his closing arguments, Tank said that Abraham was high on heroin, methadone, cocaine and other drugs.

“Frankly, I’m surprised Adam Abraham got there,” Tank said, also pointing out that he came armed with a gun and a knife. “This didn’t end the way it was supposed to. Adam Abraham comes over high ... with a gun that’s not registered to anybody and a knife, unannounced.”

Fox said he hopes Abraham’s family can now begin grieving and move on.

“They were respectful in court and I’m very proud of the family and how they maintained their composure during the course of this case.”

Kupinski’s 42-year-old wife, Kimberly Kupinski, still faces charges of accessory after the fact to a felony and lying to a peace officer during a violent crime investigation. Police said she first told them that she had been the one to shoot Abraham, but further investigation revealed that she was lying.

The court ordered April 9 that the two trials would be conducted separately and that statements Kimberly Kupinski made to police would be suppressed. Her trial was scheduled to begin May 5, but Tank said he didn’t know if that case would proceed.

“I don’t know how you can be convicted with filing a false police report when statements you supposedly made in the false police report were thrown out,” Tank said. “That’s where we’re at.”

Kim Kupinski is represented by attorney Gary Jones. 

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