Murder Defendant Maintains Innocence, Requests More Time for Investigation

Thank you for reading Baltimore Witness. Help us continue our mission into 2024.

Donate Now

A 50-year-old murder defendant waived his Maryland right to a speedy trial so his attorney could continue investigating his case. 

Michael Atkinson is charged with first-degree murder and possession of a deadly weapon with intent to injure for the July 4, 2023, stabbing death of 53-year-old Michael Raub

Though his client’s three-day trial was scheduled to begin May 21 before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Althea M. Handy, defense attorney Michael Cooper told the court Atkinson requested he interview more witnesses and postpone the trial. Atkinson is “insistent on his innocence,” the attorney explained. 

Cooper was not prepared for trial either, having only received the bulk of the case’s evidence last month after the prosecution had sent the files to an incorrect email address three times. Judge Handy questioned why Atkinson was only now bringing up these witnesses and why Cooper hadn’t filed a motion to compel in late 2023.

Cooper admitted he did not do his due diligence, but he had a number of personal tragedies between September 2023 and Tuesday’s hearing, including the deaths of his brother and son. He also had contracted COVID twice in that span. 

Judge Handy referred all parties to reception court, presided over by Judge Melissa K. Copeland. Due to Cooper’s pending retirement on July 1, Atkinson’s future attorney, Andrea Jaskulsky, worked with the prosecution to find a new date for trial. Counsel agreed on Oct. 22, but because October is not yet open for scheduling, they will return to reception court on July 22 to request the date. 

According to documents from the District Court of Maryland, witnesses identified Atkinson via photo array as the man who first swung at Raub and demanded he repay him money on the 1600 block of McHenry Street. Raub was pronounced dead nearly an hour later at University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center. 

Follow this case