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Ex-fiancee takes stand

Mother of accused, forensic scientist also among 11 testimonies

October 25, 2012
Emily Siegmon - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ATLANTA - The murder trial of Henry Mager moved into its third day in Atlanta on Thursday, with 11 different testimonies, including Mager's former employer, Don Ehlers, two forensic scientists, ex-fiancee Erin Weatherwax, and his mother Susan Mager, among many others who played a role in disclosing information to the jury. Mager was believed to have a drug problem, particularly with opiates, and to have broken into and stolen items from Ehlers home, which he previously admitted to, and into the home of Tarry Allen Lee, who was murdered on Oct. 23, 2011.

Nicole Graham, forensic scientist for the Michigan State Police, testified that Mager's DNA analysis matched the sample of the portion of a cigarette that was tested and was said to be found on the scene of the breaking and entry into Ehlers' home.

"The DNA results match across all 16 regions as Henry Mager's cigarette butt ... it's unlikely that it would be anyone elses," Graham said.

Article Photos

News Photo by Emily Siegmon
Susan Mager, mother of Henry Mager who is on trial in Atlanta for murder in the death of Tarry Allen Lee, provides testimony while Henry Mager, right, and his attorney, Ronald Bayot, listen.

According to Ehlers, when his home was broken into on Oct. 10, 2011, multiple items were stolen, including a duffel bag, radio, photographs, a .22 Magnum revolver, a nine millimeter gun, and boxes of ammunition. During later testimony, Weatherwax said Mager admitted during a telephone conversation to breaking into Ehlers home and stealing items.

"He told me what he stole and what he did with the things ... guns, change, pills, jewelry, and a wallet ... that's all I remember," Weatherwax said. "Henry was addicted to opiates, mostly heroin and morphine. He obtained pills from Tarry Lee and his father, who was in the late stages of cancer."

Weatherwax said she also was addicted to pain medications at the time, and was suffering from "drug sickness" symptoms that had occurred from not taking pills on Oct. 22, 2011.

"(Henry) said he was going to break into Tarry's house," Weatherwax said. "He planned to break in and steal pills. He went by himself around 7 p.m. He said he was going to ride his bike and break into a window."

Weatherwax and Mager continued their relationship and communicated through letters while Mager was housed in the Montmorency County Jail. Weatherwax admitted at the time she continued to pursue a relationship with Mager and lied or exaggerated in letters to him.

When Mager's attorney, Ronald Bayot, cross-examined Weatherwax, questioning her statements, Weatherwax admitted she lied to Mager in the letters, but said she was honest with officers about the case.

Susan Mager, Henry's mother and Lee's sister-in-law, said she found out Lee was murdered the night of Oct 22. She admitted knowing Henry Mager stole and had problems with drugs, but said he is not a violent or angry person, and overall had a good relationship with Lee.

Sgt. Jerry Briolat of the Michigan State Police was assigned to the case on Oct. 23, 2011, to preserve the scene and collect evidence, and upon investigating Henry Mager's house on Oct. 24 and 26 he found 20 nine millimeter bullets in his insulated attic.

"We spoke to Henry about the break in at Lee's on Oct. 24, 26, and 28," Briolat said.

Briolat testified that Mager denied breaking into Lee's house each day, until Oct. 28, when Mager allegedly admitted to breaking in to Lee's home, smashing a window, using scissors to break a safe to steal narcotics, but did not admit to killing Lee.

The trial continues today in the Montmorency County Courthouse.

Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5687.



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