Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Christopher James DANKOVICH





Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (15) - Parricide
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: April 24, 2005
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: October 23, 1989
Victim profile: His mother, Diane Michele, 50
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife (111 times)
Location: Rochester Hills, Michigan, USA
Status: Sentenced to 25 to 37 years in prison on May 1, 2006

photo gallery


Killer son: 'I'm not a violent person'

Teen will spend at least 25 years in prison for stabbing mother to death

By Stephen Frye - The Oakland Press

May 2, 2006

His lawyer still believes that a jury would have struggled to convict him and the judge can't understand why the murder happened, but the Rochester Hills teenager who stabbed his mother to death was sentenced Monday to at least 25 years in prison.

Christopher Dankovich, 16, apologized for what he did and said that he was not a violent person.

Now the boy will not be eligible for parole until he is 40 years old.

The youth was a 15-year-old Rochester Adams High School student when he stabbed his mother, 50-year-old Diane Michele, 111 times with a small knife on the night of April 24, 2005, inside their home near Tienken and Adams roads.

Her body was found the next morning, after Dankovich had fled to his father's northern Michigan cottage, where he was arrested with survival gear.

After several attempts to negotiate a sentencing agreement, a deal was finally reached on Monday, when Oakland County Circuit Judge John J. McDonald said that he was as satisfi ed as he could be with the potential outcome.

"I've reviewed everything I can review," McDonald said.

Final decision

Defense attorney Mitchell Ribitwer said the decision to continue with his guilty plea to open murder - in which the judge found him guilty of seconddegree - not premeditated - came from Dankovich.

"He had a very good defense for not guilty by reason of insanity," Ribitwer said. "Christopher made the final decision. He wanted to accept responsibility for his actions.

"Personally, I feel we should have gone to trial for a criminal responsibility issue. It's not my call."

Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Lisa Ortlieb Gorcyca has long said that they had a strong case against Dankovich, who faced a mandatory life sentence without parole if convicted of fi rst-degree murder.

McDonald, who had nixed an earlier deal for a 22 1 /2-year minimum term because of concerns about public safety once Dankovich is released, sentenced the meek-looking youth to 25-to-37 1 /2 years in prison.

"I'd just like to say how sorry I am for what I did," Dankovich told the judge.

When McDonald questioned him as to how he felt, Dankovich responded, "I just feel sad. ... I feel nervous."

Earlier testimony from a psychologist - requested by the judge, who feared that Dankovich would present a danger to society after his release - indicated that the boy believed he was on a mission from God to protect children. When his mother tried to discipline him for his homemade weapons, intended for abortionists and child pornographers, he lashed out at her.

When asked about what drove him to that belief system, Dankovich said: "I'd prefer to not have to talk about it. ... Everything went wrong."

Dankovich said he felt horrible about what happened.

Judge frustrated

The judge noted a letter he received, which Ribitwer said alleged emotional abuse by Michele as a factor in shaping Dankovich's mind, but the judge did not say who sent it.

The judge also addressed the boy's father during the sentencing, and he later spoke to him privately at the bench.

"It's a very tragic case, and my heart goes out to you and your other family members," McDonald told James Dankovich, a successful chiropractor who lives in Troy and was divorced from Michele. But, the judge added, he had a job to do. McDonald spoke at length about his frustration with understanding what drove a boy who seemed a model student and citizen to commit one of Oakland County's most vicious crimes, killing one's mother with 111 stab wounds, including stabbing out her eyes. "You were a fairly model student, no behavior problems at all," the judge said. "That's what concerns me. I just can't see any good reason for this." The judge asked that if he did this once, why won't he do it again? "I'm not a violent person," Dankovich responded. "That's what makes this case so bizarre," McDonald answered back.

Not God's mission

Ribitwer said he explained fully to Dankovich what to expect in prison and admitted it will be difficult to determine what kind of man emerges from the prison system.

The teenager's thoughts and beliefs, though, are being modifi ed from his belief that he was on a mission from God, Ribitwer said. He has recognized "the inappropriateness of his behavior," Ribitwer said.

While Michele was in the process of fi nding out about Dankovich making weapons, including homemade bombs, Ribitwer said he does not believe she knew fully what was motivating him.

"They didn't see it coming," Ribitwer said of the family.

From becoming enamored with the Bible, Dankovich turned to the Internet and several anti-abortion groups, his lawyer said. From the philosophical ideas, Dankovich then turned to militia-type groups.

"Chris, in his mind, was basically on a mission from God," Ribitwer said. "He believed in a higher authority. His mother was not going to stand in his way. He was attempting to stop the abortionists. He was attempting to stop the pornographers. He wanted to save children."

That, Ribitwer continued, showed a substantial disorder of thought, a key component of insanity in the criminal justice system.

"He didn't have the ability to conform or modify his conduct," Ribitwer said.

His future

The judge questioned the boy thoroughly several times about whether he understood his rights and what his sentence meant.

"This doesn't necessarily mean that you'll get out then," McDonald said of his 2030 parole eligibility. "A lot will depend on your behavior while incarcerated" and help received from mental health experts.

The judge discussed at length what kind of treatment Dankovich will receive, but he noted that he can only strongly suggest it and not order it. Initially, Dankovich will be housed with other minors, but then he would move to the adult population after he turns 21.

"You're a young man, and I feel really sorry for you," McDonald said. "I hope you get the help you need."

"Thank you, your honor," the shackled Dankovich said, before being led from court by sheriff's deputies.


Judge: 34 years too little for 111 stab wounds

Teen withdraws guilty plea and will mount insanity defense

Monday, March 13, 2006

PONTIAC, Michigan (AP) -- A suburban teenager accused of stabbing his mother 111 times withdrew his guilty plea Monday after a judge rejected a plea deal that would have freed him within 34 years.

Christopher Dankovich, 16, faces a March 27 preliminary examination on charges of murder and using a computer to commit a crime.

"I feel a responsibility to society," Oakland County Circuit Court Judge John J. McDonald said in rejecting the deal prosecutors and defense attorneys had worked out. The judge said a prison term of 22 1/2 to 34 years was too light for the crime.

Mitchell Ribitwer, Dankovich's attorney, said he would use an insanity defense at trial.

Dankovich was 15 when his mother, Diane Michele, was stabbed to death on April 24, 2005. Authorities have said she had discovered her son was using the Internet to look at pornography and learn how to make weapons.

The teenager was arrested at his family's cabin in St. Helen, more than 100 miles to the north.


Rochester Hills teen pleads guilty to murder

By Annette Kingsbury - The Observer & Eccentric Newspapers

February 10, 2006

Christopher Dankovich, the Rochester Hills teen accused of killing his mother by stabbing her 111 times, pleaded guilty to murder Friday. Sentencing is set for March 6.

Under an agreement between his defense attorney and the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office, Dankovich’s guilty plea came in exchange for a recommended prison sentence of 22 1/2 to 34 years.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge John McDonald will now review the agreement and decide whether it’s acceptable. If not, the case could still go to trial.

Dankovich was 15 and a freshman at Adams High School when the body of his mother, psychotherapist Diane Michele, was found in her Palm Aire Drive home April 25, 2005. He was arrested later the same day at a family home in Roscommon County. At his arraignment, the prosecution described the case against him as overwhelming.

Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Lisa Ortleib Gorcyca and defense attorney Mitchell Ribitwer both said Friday that Dankovich’s family wanted to avoid a trial.

“The victim’s mother spoke and she asked the judge to sentence him to second degree,” Ortleib Gorcyca said. “She has forgiven him and wants to move on.”

“They don’t want any more trauma, anger or hurt for the family,” Ribitwer said. “We have a sentencing agreement of 22 1/2 to 34 years. The judge still has to approve that. ... There is that contingency.”

A second felony charge related to Dankovich’s use of a computer to access explosives-related Web sites was also agreed to Friday.

“Rather than let the entire agreement fall, we agreed to plead to the second charge,” Ribitwer said. “It didn’t really impact the sentencing agreement.”

If the plea agreement is ultimately accepted by the judge, Dankovich, who recently turned 16, will be turned over to the state department of corrections for placement.

“Generally, the Michigan Department of Corrections will house the population under 21 years of age with other people under 21,” Ribitwer said. But there’s no guarantee. “They can place him anywhere in the state.”

When asked why Dankovich killed his mother, Ribitwer said he can’t address that until the case is finally closed.


Teen accused of stabbing mother 111 times waives court hearing

By Bree Fowler - Associated Press

Lansing State Journal

November 16, 2005

ROCHESTER HILLS - A teenager accused of stabbing his mother 111 times waived his right to a preliminary examination Tuesday.

Christopher Dankovich, 16, did not speak during his brief court appearance in Rochester Hills other than to acknowledge to District Court Judge Nancy Tolwin Carniak that he had agreed to waive the hearing.

Carniak did not set a date for the teenager's circuit court arraignment, but it was expected to take place later this month.

Dankovich has been charged as an adult with open murder. He is accused of stabbing his mother, Diane Michele, 50, whose body was found in her Rochester Hills home on April 25. The teen was arrested later that day at his family's cabin in St. Helen, more than 100 miles to the north in Roscommon County.

Attorneys are negotiating the number of years the teen would spend behind bars if he is allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder, Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Ortlieb said.

Dankovich will continue to be held without bond in a juvenile detention center and could face life in prison if convicted of first- or second- degree murder.


Boy allegedly stabs mom 111 times

April 28, 2005

Rochester Hills, Michigan - A confrontation with his mother over Internet pornography and home-made weaponry preceded an attack in which a 15-year-old American boy apparently stabbed her more than 100 times, say police and prosecutors.

Christopher Dankovich has been charged as an adult with murder in Oakland County district court in Michigan. Judge Nancy Carniak scheduled a preliminary hearing for May 17 and ordered the teen held without bail.

Carniak asked Christopher if he understood that he could receive life in prison if convicted. According to the Detroit News, the slight-framed teen, head freshly shaven, politely answered; "Yes, your honour."

"He's very baffled and distraught," said Mitchell Ribitwer, the boy's lawyer.

Ribitwer said he was likely to request a psychiatric examination for his client, who he said had never been in trouble before.

"I believe there are some mental health issues in this case," the attorney said. "It's out of the blue. There's no explanation for it."

Police began searching for Christopher shortly after his grandmother found the body of Diane Michele in the foyer of her Rochester Hills home on Monday morning. Christopher was not in the house or at his school, and his mother's van was missing.

Christopher was located at about 2pm at his family's cabin in St Helen, more than 160km to the north.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said his office had contacted officials in the area on the hunch that Christopher might have gone to the cabin.

Richfield Township police chief Bradley Bannon said his officers went to the cabin, spotted Michele's van and set up watch. Three hours later, Christopher came out of the cabin and surrendered, Bannon told the Daily Oakland Press of Pontiac, Michigan.

Michele was stabbed 111 times, chief deputy prosecutor Deborah Carley said.

"It was just about everywhere. She was stabbed in the back, chest, head, heart, face and eyes," Carley said. "She also had blunt-force trauma to her head."

Michele, 50, was a psychologist who ran the HeartLight Metaphysical Centre in nearby Birmingham. She was a certified hypnotherapist and had a master's degree in counselling.

Authorities said Michele had recently discovered that her son was using the Internet to look at pornography and learn how to make weapons. Michele had found a gun that her son made out of PVC pipe filled with gunpowder and marbles, took it away and gave it to the boy's father, her ex-husband, James Dankovich of Troy, Michigan.

James Dankovich declined to comment on Tuesday, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Michele and her son also had been arguing about his girlfriend and his use of the computer, but authorities still lacked a clear motive for the slaying.

"That's the million-dollar question," Oakland county prosecutor David Gorcyca said.

"What motivated a 15-year-old who was otherwise a well-behaved child to butcher his mom? This investigation is far from complete. There has to be something in this boy's background for him to commit such an angry crime."


Son charged as adult in 'horrific' slaying

Teen did not have violent past

By Korie Wilkins and Stephen Frye - The Daily Oakland Press

Apr 27, 2005

ROCHESTER HILLS - Over and over again, 111 times, a teenager stabbed his mother in the head, neck and eyes, authorities say.

Why? No one knows for sure. Diane Michele, 50, had recently discovered that her son had been looking at pornographic and weapons-related Web sites. And Christopher Dankovich had also recently been in trouble in Bloomfield Hills after officers there caught him rattling the doors at a church-school.

But Christopher is a boy without a violent past, authorities say. The viciousness of the attack stunned investigators, who are at a loss as to why the 15-year-old - charged as an adult Tuesday with open murder - would kill in such a manner.

"This is one of the most horrific crime scenes (anyone) has ever seen," said Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Kelly Chard.

The body of Michele, a certified hypnotherapist, minister and social worker who ran the HeartLight Metaphysical Center in Birmingham, was found by her mother at about 8 a.m. Monday. Michele was partially covered by a tarp in the foyer of her home at 3160 Palm Aire Drive in Rochester Hills.

Oakland County Sheriff's Office deputies found a blue-handled folding knife with blood and hair on it outside. They also found bloody clothes in the laundry room, blood droplets in the home and blood in sinks.

Missing was Christopher - a freshman at Adams High School - and Michele's white Chevrolet Astro van with the vanity plate LOVE 4 U.

Christopher was arrested Monday morning at his father's northern Michigan cabin in Roscommon County's Richfield Township.

The cabin, near Twin Lakes, had been a part of the couple's divorce settlement, going to the boy's father, James Dankovich, a chiropractor who is remarried and has a young daughter.

In the cabin, deputies found military and survival-type gear, Chard said. Christopher indicated to authorities that he had planned to drive south and go into hiding. He also said he knew authorities were there to arrest him because of his mother's murder, said Detective Dennis Finney, during a hearing in which he swore to the warrant against Christopher.

Richfield Township Police Chief Bradley Bannon said his officers went to the cabin, a year-round house, after being called by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office. They spotted the van and set up watch.

"We were able to secure the area without him knowing we were there," Bannon said.

Three hours later, supplied with a cell phone number from Oakland County detectives, Richfield police tried calling Christopher. When he didn't answer, they approached the house with a bullhorn, Bannon said.

"He did come out of the house and surrender," Bannon said. "It was the best outcome for us."

The boy had shaved his head at the cabin, cutting off hair he had recently died blue.

According to Chard, Christopher had been doing more than changing his hair color recently. He had been looking at pornographic Web sites and sites on how to make guns. The teenager had made guns, capable of firing projectiles, using PVC pipe, Chard said.

Despite the charges lodged against Christopher, several friends and family members gathered in Rochester Hills District Court Judge Nancy Tolwin Carniak's courtroom Tuesday afternoon to support the youth, said the boy's attorney Mitchell Ribitwer. None spoke to the media.

"He has excellent family support," Ribitwer said. "He is still loved."

One of Christopher's supporters yelled out "We love you, Chris." The teenager, sporting a maroon-colored shirt and navy slacks, turned his head and said softly, "I love you, too."

Carniak denied bond to Christopher, who will remain in custody until a May 17 preliminary examination. He faces life in prison if convicted of the open murder charge.

"He's very baffled and distraught," Ribitwer said.

Ribitwer, who was retained by Christopher's family, said he will likely request a psychiatric examination for his client. He said Christopher is a good kid who had never before been in trouble. Friends and family members say there was no indication that the youth had violent tendencies.

"I believe there are some mental health issues in this case," Ribitwer said. "It's out of the blue. There's no explanation for it."

But there were signs something was wrong. While staying at his father's Troy home on Saturday, Christopher cut a hole in the screen in his bedroom, tied sheets and clothing together and climbed down to the ground, authorities said. From there, he rode his bicycle to Bloomfield Hills where police caught him rattling the doors at St. Hugo of the Hills school on Hickory Grove.

Police, believing the boy was a runaway, returned Christopher to his father's home. James Dankovich took him to Michele's home Sunday afternoon, where there was a family meeting. Later Sunday, James Dankovich tried to call his ex-wife, but could not reach her. He contacted Michele's mother and asked her to check on the house Monday morning. She discovered the body and called police, telling them she believed Christopher was responsible because mother and son had been arguing recently, Finney said.

Ribitwer said there are no signs either parent abused Christopher.

The Dankoviches were married May 20, 1989, in Rochester. Christopher was their only child, born on Oct. 23, 1989. Michele filed for divorce in August of 1995 and it was finalized a year later.

Michele's divorce attorney said the couple's split was amicable.

"They really had a fabulous relationship coming out of the divorce, especially looking out for the best interest of the child," said Bloomfield Hills-based attorney James Elliott.

But initial court filings showed that Michele accused her husband of physical and verbal abuse.

With a maiden name of Diane O'Connor after the divorce, Christopher's mother changed her name to Diane Michele, according to court records. It is unclear why.

While both parents in their initial divorce filings sought custody of the child, Michele received physical custody but allowed visitation with his father. In August of 2000, Michele moved to the home on Palm Aire Drive.

Elliott said the news of the killing both amazed and saddened him. He said he remembers the young boy from visits to his office.

"(Michele) was just so close to him," Elliott said. "She was a genuinely good person. She wanted the best for her son, and so did the father, as I recall. I think he really had two very loving parents."

While friends and family are still reeling from Michele's untimely death, students who knew Christopher are also struggling to cope.

Adams High School students were sent home with letters Tuesday updating parents on general information about the killing and subsequent arrest.

"This tragic event has caused great anxiety and sadness to our school and community," Principal Diann Flack wrote.

On Monday, officials at Adams quickly determined that Christopher had not come to class. Flack also said in the letter that "heightened security was added in the building."

"It's a tragedy and we don't want to go overboard with it," said Adams senior Brandon Busuito. "We're just trying not to start rumors."

Senior Rachel Long said the word in school was that Christopher was quiet. His spiked blue hair, she said, did not appear until a dance last week. She was still dumbfounded at the savage attack.

"I don't understand what would possess someone to do that," she said. "It's really weird that someone in our school would do something like that."

Michele is survived by her son; parents Elaine and Nick Palmer and brother Dean (Susan) Palmer. Visitation will be from 2-9 p.m. Friday at the Potere-Modetz Funeral Home, 339 Walnut Blvd., in Rochester. Her funeral will be 1 p.m. Saturday at University Presbyterian Church, 1385 S. Adams Road in Rochester Hills.


Teen Taken Into Custody After Mom Found Dead

Woman Found Stabbed To Death In Home

April 25, 2005

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. -- A 15-year-old boy was brought back to Oakland County by a sheriff's department helicopter on Monday afternoon for questioning in his mother's death.

Oakland County Sheriff's deputies said Christopher Dankovich was taken into custody at his grandmother's cabin in Roscommon County, in northern lower Michigan.

Sheriff's deputies said the teen had been arguing with his mother, Diane Michele, a 50-year-old psychologist, over the past few days.

At some point Sunday night or Monday morning, Michele was stabbed to death, sheriff's deputies said. Michele's body was found by her mother on Monday morning in her home in the 3000 block of Palm Aire Drive in Rochester Hills, according to sheriff's deputies.

"There appears to be multiple stab wounds and we did find a knife or two in the area," said Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard.

Dankovich, who does not have a license, was believed to have fled the home in his mother's white 1999 Chevrolet Astro van with a personalized plate that says LOVE4U, according to sheriff's deputies.

"We're checking every place we think. We'd like the public's help if they see this guy," said Bouchard.

Sheriff's deputies were concerned that the teen may be a threat to himself or to others, the station reported.

The 15-year-old was taken into custody without incident.

There was no word on what charges the teen may face.



home last updates contact