JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The defense team for a man accused of killing his wife in 1993 is trying to get statements made by the state’s key witness prohibited – calling them hearsay.
Michael Haim is accused of killing his wife, Bonnie, and burying her body in his backyard. Their son, Aaron Fraser, who was 3 years old at the time, claims his father shot her. Ironically, 22 years later, it was Aaron, who now goes by the last name of Fraser, who found his mother’s remains in the backyard of the home on Dolphin Avenue in December of 2014 while digging out an old pool.
According to Haim’s defense, Fraser made several contradictory statements to police about what happened to his mother more than 20 years ago. The defense claims those statements varied.
Fraser told investigators during an interview a day after Bonnie’s disappearance that nothing happened to his mother.
Then, according to the defense, after several hours of “prodding,” he told police his father pushed her to the ground and ran her over with his car. He also claimed his father shot her, but the defense says because of his age, he may not have known the difference between a lie or the truth and said his competency was never assessed.
The state has indicated it wants to introduce the statements made by Fraser to the court through the two detectives who interviewed him at the time, but the state said the statements aren’t reliable and should be considered hearsay.
Local attorney, Rhonda Peoples-Waters, who is not affiliated with the case, said without his statements, prosecutors will have to rely heavily on any type of concrete evidence found. Peoples-Waters said the judge will consider Fraser's age at the time of his mother's death when he decides whether to allow him as a witness.
“Anytime you have a case this old, there’s going to be some difficulties that the prosecution is going to have to deal with – even the defense as well,” attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters said. “Maybe those witnesses are not able to be located. If they are located, do they have the memory that someone would have if the incident was closer in time?”