GALIEN — The 2000 murder of Lisa Fein of Galien, whose fingernails provided key evidence to convict her former boyfriend, is the subject of an upcoming Investigation Discovery television program.
The episode will highlight an interview with Dr. David Start, a forensic pathologist at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids. The interview was filmed at Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph.
The program, set to air at 10 p.m. in most locations Nov. 19, is part of a six-part series titled “Truth About Murder.” The series makes its debut Oct. 22 on Discovery ID channel.
Fein was 33 when she was dragged from her house on Olive Branch Road in Galien Township by a man wearing a snowmobile helmet. The abduction on the night of June 30, 2000, took place in the presence of her 11-year-old son and another boy.
Her body was found two days later in a shallow grave about a quarter-mile from the house. Police said a pillow case, towel and duct tape were wrapped tightly around her head, and an autopsy showed she suffocated.
Her former boyfriend and the father of her son, Frank Spagnola of Coloma, now 60, was convicted of first-degree murder after a jury trial in Berrien County in 2003. He is serving a sentence of life in prison with no chance for parole.
Spagnola’s conviction was affirmed by a state appeals court in 2009, and the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal in January 2010.
According to Berrien County Trial Court records, Fein and Spagnola never married, and they fought for years over child support and other issues pertaining to their son. At the time of the slaying the victim’s husband, Ron Fein, was at work, according to trial testimony.
On the day Fein was murdered, Berrien County Trial Court had ordered Spagnola to dip into a retirement account and pay her more than $14,000 in back child support, according to testimony.
Fingernail clippings from Lisa Fein were tested by a state police laboratory, revealing Spagnola’s DNA and providing the prosecution with key trial evidence.
ABC News legal correspondent and full-time co-host of “The View,” Sunny Hostin, travels the country examining perplexing homicide cases. The program about the murder of Lisa Fein will include interviews with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and Fein’s friends and family, in addition to the Lakeland pathologist.
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