A woman testified Friday that she had a several-month affair 20 years ago with murder defendant Michael George of Windber, while George was married to the woman he’s accused of killing.

Patrice Sartori, 23 at the time of the affair, testified at George’s murder trial in Macomb County Court that she worked with George at a John Hancock insurance office. Both were insurance agents.

Sartori said she knew George was married to Barbara George, but believed they were separated, and Michael George had moved into a Sterling Heights apartment.

“I was under the impression (that) when we were dating he was separated from his wife, because he lived separately from her and was getting a divorce,” she said.

She said she had “no reason to disbelieve” George lived there, though she told police in an interview the apartment was “sparsely furnished and had very few clothes.”

George is charged with first-degree murder for the July 13, 1990, shooting of Barbara George, 32, in the back room of Comic World, the store they operated in Clinton Township, Mich. Barbara George, who was shot in the head a few minutes after 6 p.m., was preparing for a surprise 30th birthday party for her husband at the store.

Macomb prosecutors say Michael George, now 47, also was having an affair at the time with store employee Renee Kotula, whom he married two years later.

The case has remained unsolved, as police had never sought a warrant before last year, when the prosecutor office’s cold case unit and police reinvestigated.

Besides the alleged “marital discord” and George’s wish to continue his relationship with his mistress, Michael George’s motive was collecting $130,000 in life insurance, prosecutors contend.

George’s defense attorneys say George could not have committed the crime because he was at his mother’s house in Hazel Park at the time. The defense also says the motive was robbery, saying that comic books were stolen.

Also testifying Friday was Mike Benson, now 40, a regular customer who became an employee at the store shortly after the slaying. He told Macomb assistant prosecutor Steven Kaplan he didn’t notice any expensive comic books missing from the alleged robbery.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Joseph Kosmala, he conceded he didn’t keep track of every one of the thousands of comic books in the store, although he said he “at the time, I was kind of nerdy” and had kept close track.

“You remembered them all?” Kosmala responded sarcastically.

Benson also recounted George talking about the life insurance windfall he received. Benson said George asked him, “Should I get a new store or a sports car, a Ferrari or something?”

“I thought that was kind of odd,” Benson testified.

Regarding supposed marital problems between the Georges, Benson said George treated his wife like an employee rather than a spouse.

“He was not the loving-husband type,” Benson said, adding later, “They didn’t appear (to be) happily married.”

The trial is scheduled to resume at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

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