Heights man to stand trial for murder in 2004 cold case

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS – A suspect in the 2004 death of a Dearborn woman will stand trial on murder charges.

Dearborn Heights native Oussama Othman, 36, was bound over for trial Nov. 17 by 36th District Court Judge Katherine Hansen following a preliminary examination based on the evidence against him that began Nov. 1.

Othman faces a charge of first degree murder, which carries a sentence of life in prison without parole. He was arraigned on the warrant in July before 36th District Court Chief Magistrate Millicent Sherman.

According to a July press release from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office, Othman allegedly beat to death Margaret Sheppard Webb, 43, before setting her body on fire. Webb’s body was found March 26 in the 2800 block of Scotten in Detroit.

During the examination, Gina Pineda, a DNA consultant for Louisiana-based forensics lab GMP Consultants LLC, testified that male DNA was found in Webb’s body during a saliva test, and Lynne Helton, a forensic scientist for the Michigan State Police Forensic Laboratory, said a DNA profile competed by an outside testing agency of evidence at the scene matched Othman.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Michael Reynolds was unable to comment on this story because the case is still in progress.

Othman’s attorney, Canton Township-based Nabih Ayad, said he was disappointed with the outcome of the preliminary exam. He said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove premeditation and deliberation and he will be filing a motion with the State Court of Appeals to overrule the decision and have Othman re-arraigned.

“They established there was a dead body,” he said. “They failed to meet the requirement at this stage of the game.”

At press time, Othman was scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Nov. 28 in Third Circuit Court in Detroit.

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at dheraty@bewickpublications.com.)