Funeral home owner to stand trial in killing of cousin

The owner of a Detroit funeral home will stand trial in the fatal shooting of his cousin who was a former employee at the business.

Major Clora Jr., 37, was bound over Thursday on second-degree murder charges in the shooting death of 58-year-old Michael S. Walker, following a preliminary examination before 36th District Court Judge Kenneth King.

Exterior of Clora Funeral Home the site of a homicide this morning.

During the court proceeding, another cousin who works at the Clora Funeral Home testified that Walker had come to the business Aug. 10 looking for money he said he was owed by Clora for a funeral.

Bernard Sanders said Walker was "agitated" when he showed up at the funeral home in the 5800 block of East Seven Mile looking for Clora. After being told Clora wasn't there, Walker left and then returned a few minutes later, Sanders testified.

Walker and Clora had a confrontation and, according to Sanders, Walker threatened Clora, saying if he didn't get his money he was going to "kill" him.

"He was mad. He was angry. He made a motion toward Mr. Clora," Sanders said, adding he did not see Walker with a gun. "I saw him swing."

Major Clora

Sanders said as he was trying to call police, he heard a pop and saw blood on Walker's shirt.

Sanders said a funeral was underway, and after Walker fell on his back, he got his car and used it to shield mourners from Walker's body.

Clora's attorney William Otis Culpepper argued that his client was not the aggressor and only fired his weapon to defend himself. Culpepper argued to have his client tried for involuntary manslaughter instead of second-degree murder, citing a video of the shooting.

"Mr. Clora is backing up. He continues to back up," said Culpepper. "(Walker) pushes the defendant ... strikes the defendant. As he's striking (Clora), he's threatening him."

Saying the "video speaks for itself," assistant Wayne County prosecutor Haddy Abouzeid said Clora had his weapon drawn as Walker came toward him.

"Mr. Clora backs up with his handgun in his left hand," said Abouzeid.

King said the prosecutor met his burden of proof. he said the incident could be viewed as an involuntary manslaughter offense, but Clora fired his weapon at someone swinging at him.

"I haven't heard any testimony that Mr. Walker had any weapon of any kind," said King. "He's hitting (Clora) but there's no weapon involved. You do not bring a gun to a fist fight."

Clora is scheduled for an arraignment on information at 9 a.m. Sept. 10 in Wayne County Circuit Court. His $100,000 bond was continued Thursday.