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Suspect in D’Annunzio’s death to go unprosecuted

July 13, 2011

Finding out the person responsible for her son’s death cannot be prosecuted has left Shawn D’Annunzio shocked, hurt and numb.

Although investigators have identified the suspect allegedly involved in the death of 24-year-old Brandon D’Annunzio on Oct. 11, 2000, no charges will be pressed, Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said.

Prosecutors determined the crime was manslaughter — an illegal act unintentionally causing death.

After 10 years, the crime of manslaughter cannot be prosecuted in Michigan because the statute of limitations expires, Dunnings said.
Murder is not subject to a statute of limitations.

“Even if there was no statute of limitations, there would need to be further investigation,” Dunnings said. “Now that I know that I can’t charge (the suspect), I can’t ask the East Lansing Police Department to spend resources … on a case I can’t prosecute.”

“Basically, the only charges that could be pressed would be homicide,” East Lansing police Capt. Bill Mitchell, who worked on the investigation of Brandon D’Annunzio’s death, said in a previous interview.

Brandon D’Annunzio died from blunt force trauma to the head in Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital 10 days after he was assaulted in East Lansing.

He was attending a bachelor party at Buffalo Wild Wings, then called BW-3, 220 M.A.C. Ave., the night he allegedly was assaulted.
He left the bar alone and was approached by two men and a woman.

One of the men allegedly punched Brandon D’Annunzio in the face, causing him to fall backward and crack his head on the concrete curb.

His mother, Shawn D’Annunzio, has been waiting for justice for more than 10 years. Knowing who the suspect is and that he cannot be prosecuted is “horrible, just absolutely horrible,” she said.

A tipster notified police of the identity of the suspect after reading a news article about the anniversary of Brandon D’Annunzio’s death late last year.

Multiple people also were aware of the crime but did not come forward to police or investigators, Dunnings said in a statement.

“These persons were not criminally culpable and did not remain silent to protect either themselves or a family member,” Dunnings said in a statement. “Sadly, they chose to remain silent simply to protect a casual acquaintance and college-age ‘drinking buddy.’”

Shawn D’Annunzio’s only wish has been to speak with the suspect and hear an apology for his actions. Now, that might never happen, she said.

“This person has gotten away with murdering my son,” Shawn D’Annunzio said. “I wanted him so much to know he didn’t just kill my son; he basically killed my family. But I’ll never have a chance to talk with him.”

Now, Shawn D’Annunzio plans on speaking to legislators in the next several weeks to attempt to change the laws to exempt manslaughter from the statute of limitations.

“The only thing I’m left with is trying to help some other parents in the future,” she said.

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