TRAVERSE CITY — The man accused of a Traverse City woman’s killing won’t return to a courtroom until later this month.
Assistant Prosecutor Kyle Attwood and Defense Attorney Shawn Worden filed a joint request earlier this week to delay what would’ve been a Friday preliminary exam against Frank Supal.
Supal, a 50-year-old Maple City resident, faces charges in 86th District Court of open murder, tampering with evidence and lying to an officer investigating a violent crime. He’s classified as a third-time habitual offender, which, if he’s convicted, would increase maximum sentence ceilings.
“We really wanted to have a full picture of what went on before we go into the preliminary exam,” Attwood said, adding that investigation reports are still being finalized.
Supal was arrested in the early morning hours of Dec. 12 and arraigned the next day before Judge Robert Cooney. Cooney denied Supal bond, remanding him to a cell in Grand Traverse County’s jail.
A passerby discovered Wanda Mae Lyons’ body on Dec. 11 after spotting drag marks along Kasson Center Road in Leelanau County, Sheriff Mike Borkovich previously told the Record-Eagle.
Supal and his father own property along Kasson Center, court records show.
Curious, the man followed the tracks through a wooded stretch up to the edge of a steep ravine.
Lyons’ nude body, wrapped in black plastic and covered in leaves, rested at the bottom. She’d been bludgeoned, stabbed and strangled, according to a pathologist’s report, and suffered neck fractures.
Lyons’ husband reported her missing hours after the discovery, Traverse City Police Department investigators previously said.
He’d stepped out after an evening spat, and upon returning the next day found his wife gone and their extended-stay room at Traverse City’s Terrace Beach Motel bloodied.
Supal stayed on and off in a nearby room, Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg previously told the Record-Eagle, and the three were the motel’s only residents. Lyons, previously from Chicago, and her husband had been staying at Terrace Beach for 2 to 3 months, and knew Supal in passing.
Investigators quickly connected the dots and agencies joined forces in the investigation, probing the nearby waters of the West Grand Traverse Bay and cataloging several pieces of evidence from Terrace Beach.
The list included trash bags full of leaves pulled from the motel’s dumpsters, blood evidence in both Lyons’ and Supal’s rooms and a blood-stained yellow hoodie, long-sleeve shirt and pair of gloves Supal had been seen wearing, according to court records. A search of Supal’s pickup truck revealed more blood.
A motel manager told police he’d spotted Supal tossing sheets in Terrace Beach’s dumpster shortly after the slaying, and that when asked about it, Supal claimed he’d spilled soup on them.
Supal told Traverse City Police Department investigators he’d been using the leaf bags for weight in the back of his truck, court records show.
The 50-year-old also denied being in the Kasson Center Road area on Dec. 11.
Cell phone GPS data yielded in the investigation contradicts that, placing Supal in the general location Lyons was dumped, according to court records.
Surveillance footage from a business along M-72 shows a truck identical to Supal’s coming and going from that area.
Investigations are ongoing, and Moeggenberg previously said those efforts could yield additional charges against Supal.
Friday’s delay gives both the prosecution and defense more time to review case materials, which Attwood said were coming in as recently as the morning before the adjourned hearing.
“Even yesterday we got a stack of supplemental reports in,” he said. “We’re still waiting on some documentation from the forensic pathologist.”
“There’s DNA outstanding, phone records outstanding,” Worden added, noting delays aren’t unusual with cases like Supal’s.
Supal’s name should return to court dockets the week of Jan. 25, records show.
See updates at www.record-eagle.com.