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Ann Arbor News
By Steven Hepker, Staff Writer
Feb 21, 2001
Lawyers argue over his state of mind at time of Artz murder
Jury selection and opening arguments take nearly eight hours as murder trial gets under way for restaurant owner.
Attorneys said the murder trial of Kevin “Kip” Artz could be a long one, and they proved that on opening day Tuesday.
It took nearly five hours to seat 14 jurors and two hours and 20 minutes for opening statements.
Prosecutor John McBain portrayed Artz as a substance abuser who killed his wife, Patricia, to end a marriage filled with strife a
man who cooked his wife’s remains for nearly two days.
“Patty was probably in that oven for 30 or 40 hours,” McBain told jurors, who heard at length about charred remains, the smell of
human flesh and blood splashed throughout the couple’s apartment and restaurant on July 15, 1999.
Prosecution witnesses will tell of marital discord what McBain called, “treacherous undercurrents of placid waters.”
An animated McBain talked without a break for 80 minutes, punctuating his remarks with gestures and dramatic pauses.
He said Artz’s conversations before the murder and his actions, prove premeditation a foundation for first-degree murder.
Defense lawyer Joseph Filip admits his client did the killing.
But he argued Artz is not guilty by reason of insanity, the result of mental illness and bleeding on the brain that led to surgery.
Filip, speaking softly and calmly for an hour, portrayed the Artzes as a happy couple who played together and worked together
at Kip’s Pizza Taco House, 2319 W. Michigan.
He plans to call several friends, family members and customers who will say they never detected drug or alcohol abuse by Artz,
nor did they see marital problems.
While McBain will show the jury videos of body parts, Filip said he will show them videos of the Artzes having fun together in a
trip to Nantucket, and with family members on Christmas 1998.
“You are not going to see treacherous undercurrents of placid water,” Filip said more than once.
Kevin Artz had been treated for depression with Prozac, he said. Although that has been used as a defense in criminal cases, Filip
blames a growing blood clot on the left side of Artz’s brain for a drastic mental change in mid-999.
Artz had surgery to remove the blood on June 29 and was released from Foote Hospital on July 2. Filip said several witnesses will
testify he was disoriented and distracted, unable to read, write or understand speech as he had before.
Several longtime friends will say Artz did not know them after the surgery.
Filip said that, because of the bleeding and trauma to his brain, Artz had irrational, stupid, delusional thoughts, including a
belief his wife was trying to kill him with cockroach spray.
The killing and subsequent dismemberment of the body were part of an “abhorrent but nonsensical thought process,” and not an
intentional plot, Filip said.
McBain will call witnesses who will say Artz has been fascinated with murder for years, and even talked of cutting up and boiling
a body to conceal evidence in 1983. Two witnesses will testify that Artz asked about how he could kill his wife just months
before she was killed, McBain said.
He said evidence will show Artz bludgeoned his wife on their couch on July 13, 1999, placed the body in a sleeping bag, then systematically baked and boiled the remains over two days while her family wondered where she was.
“He had the presence of mind, right off,” McBain said. “He had the most effective means to get rid of that body in his
Reach reporter Steven Hepker at she…@citpat.com or 768-4923.