Conviction upheld in businessman's death

PORTAGE, Mich. (AP) -- The Michigan appeals court has upheld a first-degree murder conviction in the fatal shooting of a man who ran a home-improvement company in the Kalamazoo area. The appeals court acknowledged last Friday there were no witnesses and no physical evidence against James Lanier. But the three-judge panel noted that he worked for the victim, Bob Atkinson, and was in hot water for poor work and missing money. Atkinson was president of Precision Windows in Portage when he was killed in January 2009. Prosecutors presented evidence that Lanier was a member of a motorcycle club, and another club member owned the gun that was used in Atkinson's death. The 38-year-old Lanier claimed he was elsewhere when Atkinson was killed. He's serving a life sentence with no chance for parole. Published: Tue, Jul 19, 2011