Dr. Michael Posey

Dr. Michael Posey’s appeal in the murder conviction

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Published: 23 July 2017

Posted by: Elizabeth A. Wooten

CALIFORNIA— Michael Posey, former Napa dentist, had previously appealed to have his murder conviction overturned, which has now gained some momentum.
County district attorney was ordered by the Napa County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kroyer, to turn over retired chief investigator Ed Knutsen’s personnel records to Posey’s defense attorney. Knutsen had been the chief investigator and a key witness in the 2006 trial.
The state Attorney General’s office said a personnel matter had surfaced related to Knutsen, during Posey’s appeal process, suggesting that it might be relevant to Knutsen’s credibility.
After many weeks of testimony, on Oct. 26, 2006, a jury convicted Posey, of first-degree murder in shooting his estranged wife Elizabeth, 27, in April 1996. He was sentenced for 29 years/ lifetime.
Posey hired a new attorney after his conviction, who is a well-known San Francisco criminal lawyer Dennis Riordan. Riordan urged for a new trial, but Kroyer denied the same. Kroyer presided over Posey’s murder trial.
Riordan then filed to have Posey’s conviction overturned, seeking a reply from Deputy State Attorney General Aileen Bunney.
The reply stated that a personnel matter relating to Knutsen, not pertaining to the trial, had come to their attention. The matter could be relevant to investigator Knutsen’s credibility.
Bunney said that the county district attorney’s office had not known about the matter, which took place before or during the trial, until long after Posey’s sentence.
As personnel records are confidential, Riordan had to file a motion with the Napa County courts to have Knutsen’s personnel records, mentioned in the attorney general’s letter to him, turned over by the district attorney.
It was ruled in Riordan’s favor by Kroyer and he ordered the personnel records be released. However, the release of the records was delayed for a week to give the district attorney time if in case they wanted to appeal his decision.
Kroyer said that the defense was entitled to see the records. He is entitled to all the material that could help in his appeal, Kroyer said.
Kroyer also issued a protective order along with Knutsen’s personnel records to seal them and prohibit people from making it available to the public.
John Goold, Napa County Chief Deputy District Attorney said requests to see trial testimony is commonly made during appeals.
The judge ordered the parties to not to discuss the facts of anything about the day’s motion. It would be only speculation to guess how this may be related to Posey’s appeal. Goold said in an e-mail to the Register, that they remain confident in the fact that Dr. Posey received a fair trial and his conviction will surely be upheld.
When Elizabeth Posey was killed, Knutsen was the lead investigator for the Napa police. After Napa police was left to work as investigator for the district attorney, Knutsen had still continued to pursue the case. His work resulted in the discovery of new forensic evidence which led to Posey’s arrest and his conviction, 10 years later.
Posey was approached for interview after his wife’s shooting death. He told the investigators that they were both arguing over money at his Maplewood Avenue home situated in Napa. He said she brought up the gun from his bedroom. Michael Posey said to the police, that she had fired at him but missed the shot. He added that both of them, then struggled over the gun, it got fired in a way that the bullet struck Elizabeth Posey’s chin and got lodged in her head. Michael Posey was released on the same night when the shooting took place and for the next nine years he continued working at his Napa dental office and raised their two sons, who were aged 1 and 3 when their mother was shot.
The couple was going through a divorce, at the time of the killing. Elizabeth Posey, the wife/ mother had moved out of the couple’s Maplewood Avenue residence and had shifted to Cordelia with their sons.

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