Man faces life in prison after wife found naked, shot

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

A Wayne County jury was not convinced a Hazel Park man was trying to kill his wife when she was discovered bound with tape, shot and badly beaten in a desolate area on Detroit’s east side in his truck with him nearby.

The jury cleared Radu Vasile Muntean, 35, of charges of trying to kill his wife, but he was convicted on other related charges Friday.

Muntean was acquitted on charges of assault with intent to murder but was found guilty on assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and unlawful imprisonment in the March incident. He was found guilty on unlawful imprisonment in the incident in addition to torture, felony firearms and domestic violence. He was acquitted on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon. He was immediately taken into custody following Friday’s verdict.

He faces up to life in prison for the charges when he is sentenced Aug. 10.

Muntean’s wife, Natalia Muntean, was found by a Grosse Pointe Park police officer handcuffed, shot in both legs, bleeding in the face and naked in her husband’s truck in a vacant field in the area of Lyford and Gilbo near Van Dyke and French during a routine patrol March 23.

Officer Dan Kolar, who is part of an undercover auto theft unit, said he stumbled upon Radu Muntean with his truck backed up to a vacant lot around 2:43 p.m.

Kolar testified before Wayne Circuit Judge Craig Strong that when he stopped to investigate, Radu Muntean approached him with a gas can and asked him to take him to get some gas. Kolar said Radu Muntean told him he was a police officer and even flashed an official-looking police badge. Kolar said Radu Muntean told him he was in an abandoned lot with overgrown weeds to pick up his girlfriend, who had been beaten up.

Kolar said he investigated further because "something wasn't lining up" and found Natalia Muntean in her husband's Dodge Ram pickup.

"I saw a badly beaten (woman) in a blanket," Kolar said. "She had cuts on her hand. I asked if she was OK. She was saying something incoherent. She looked straight ahead. She never looked at me."

Dr. Michael Taylor, who treated Natalia Muntean, said she had multiple lacerations and abrasions and her jawbone was dislocated.

Natalia Muntean said she was shot in the leg as she and her husband drove down Interstate 75 in Detroit. She and her husband allegedly had argued earlier.

During testimony, Natalia Muntean also said the incident stemmed from a "big misunderstanding." She testified she initially didn't want to press charges.

The woman was asked by Radu Muntean's defense attorney about a so-called suicide pact. The woman agreed that in earlier statements she said her husband had discussed committing suicide together if they could not work out their marital problems.

Asked why she didn't use her cellphone to call for help before getting shot, Natalia Muntean said she "couldn't think clearly." She also told jurors she feared her husband.

"I didn't want to make him mad," Natalia Muntean said. "I was just trying to be obedient."

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