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Beulah — A Detroit-area man convicted of killing his wife by dragging her into a northern Michigan lake has lost a key appeal, likely exhausting his efforts to get a new trial 15 years after the death.

Mark Unger argued that his rights were violated because his trial lawyer was ineffective, especially when he failed to object to provocative courtroom comments by the prosecutor.

But a federal appeals court last week rejected that claim, saying evidence against Unger was “overwhelming” and any failures by his lawyer were unlikely to affect the verdict in Benzie County.

Authorities said Florence Unger of Huntington Woods was pushed off the roof of a boathouse and dragged into Lower Herring Lake, where she drowned. Unger’s lawyers argued that his wife accidentally fell and died from injuries. She was seeking a divorce.

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