Category Archives: Michigan

Marvin Cotton

Marvin Cotton, age 22, was convicted of the shooting death of Jamond McIntyre on January 24, 2001.

Jailhouse informant Ellis Frazier testified that Cotton confessed to the crime while behind bars, however in a March 2014 affidavit Frazier stated “he did not confess to me about being a part of any crime like I testified to at the trial. All of the information and details in the police statement was pre-written and wholly composed by the homicide detective.”

In April 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals granted an evidentiary hearing. According to a September 2016 article published in the Detroit Metro Times:

“The inconsistencies in Cotton’s case — arguments of ineffective counsel, freshly produced affidavits testifying to Cotton’s innocence, and an alleged host of problems with the detectives who investigated the murder — have given him hope. Bolstering that hope: a full recantation from the jailhouse informant (“I have never met or even talked to Marvin Cotton”), evidence that Lockhart was pressured to provide his testimony, and an alibi witness interviewed by Metro Times who has not previously spoken publicly about the case.”

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Mary Jane Kimberly Lee Johns

Mary Jane Kimberly Lee Johns was found guilty on March 21, 2017 of kidnapping her former girlfriend, Laura Westphal, in May 2000.

According to a pre-trial ruling, Kim and Laura were in a romantic relationship from the summer of 1999 through April 2000. They lived in different states and used AOL instant messaging and e-mail to communicate.

Following their breakup, Kim appeared at Laura’s parent’s home in May 2000. When Laura returned to the home, the women departed on a drive to Iowa.

The prosecution allege Kim held Laura at gunpoint, forcing her to drive, and holding her hostage for eight days, threatened to kill Laura and would not let Laura out of her sight.

The defense say Kim did not kidnap Laura, saying that Laura left her home and traveled with Kim to avoid having her family discover her same-sex relationship and to ensure that Kim did not commit suicide.

Receipts were recovered showing they visited motels and shops, making it implausible that Kim could have held Laura at gunpoint for this length of time. The defense cite messages where Laura lied, was deceptive and concealed the same sex relationship.

Sentencing was set for August 17, 2017.

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Charles Leroy Cope

Charles Leroy Cope was convicted in 2014 on two charges of torture and the two charges of unlawful imprisonment after two women made false accusations against him and Jason Sadowski.

His attorney adopted a “duress” defense, after failing to consult with his client before the preliminary hearing.

Sadowski won his direct appeal and was cleared of all charges in March 2017 after a jury retrial.

For more details please see https://freecoachjason.wordpress.com and https://freecoachjason.wordpress.com/leroy-cope/

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Danny Lee Thompson

Danny Lee Thompson was convicted together with Andy W. Snyder for the murder of Michael W. Beauchamp, a homeless drifter.

Beauchamp  was last seen with two men at the Viking Lounge. His body was found floating in the Flint River at a Genesee County parks fishing site off N. Irish Road in Richfield Township, in October 1996. Police said a pathologist said Beauchamp died from drowning, but was beaten before being tossed in the water.

DNA on discarded cigarette butts found at the murder scene linked  the pair to the homicide. Snyder, who was already in prison when charged, was sentenced to 25-50 years in prison. He claimed that if he did not help Thompson that day, he also would have been killed.

At the sentencing hearing, Danny denied any involvement in the Oct. 7, 1996 killing, “I never laid my hands on him”, he said .

Source: News Report February 25, 2008.

Evidence shows that the testimony of Vega, the bartender, who testified that Danny wanted to beat the victim, was false, the person she described was not Danny. Danny’s confession was coerced, and Snyder also confessed. One of the confessions must have been false.

Source: see proposal post.

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Ronald DiMambro Jr.

sportyRonald DiMambro Jr. was convicted in 2014 for the murder of Damian Sutton, the two-year-old son of his ex-girlfriend, and sentenced to life in prison.

Damian and his mother were living in the home of Ronald’s parents. Damian was in the care of Ronald at the time of the alleged assault in August 2013 while his mother was at work.  The defense say Damian accidentally fell from a kitchen bar stool 1-3 days earlier, and that likely accounted for his death. Damian was taken to hospital, but was taken off life support and died six days later.

In October 2014 a judge ordered a new trial, ruling that 32 photographs withheld by the prosecution were crucial, stating that “The information provided by these photographs … would likely have materially changed how the jury viewed the relationship between the defendants’ conduct and Damian’s death. The nondisclosure may have been unintentional, but it was no harmless error.”

The photographs could have helped the defense, and its expert, Dr. Bader Cassin, because they more clearly show that bleeding on one side of Damian’s brain was caused by surgical incisions, not necessarily blunt-force trauma, the judge said. The information suggests Damian may have suffered only one blow instead of two, raising the possibility of a fall instead of an intentional act.

Source: Judge orders new trial for man in 2-year-old’s death 1 Nov 2015.

In December 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the judge’s decision. The county prosecutor’s office planned to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

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Jason David Sadowski

Update: see Jason Sadowski is Innocent for full case details.

cropped2Jason David Sadowski was convicted in 2014 of assaulting and torturing Angel Paris  and Becky Bressette at Jason’s gym in July 2013. The conviction was overturned in December 2015, a retrial has been set for March 6, 2017.

Angel, a drug addict and admitted thief, and Becky gave conflicting, changing and incredible accounts of what occurred. According to the ruling  overturning the conviction “Although the police officers gave testimony regarding their observations, the prosecution highlights nothing from their testimony that disproves Sadowski’s rendition beyond a reasonable doubt. The victims also had many discrepancies in their account of the night and crimes.”

At the time  Angel was on parole/probation. She was also in drug court and had an open CPS case. She had warrants out for her arrest for bail jumping. So, on the night in question, she had been out drinking and using drugs, she had her violated her probation, parole and drug court conditions,  and was due in drug court in the morning for testing. She admitted to stealing money. She had also stolen jewelry and marijuana.

Becky was also a drug addict, who died of a methadone overdose between the preliminary hearing and trial. She was with Angel on the night she died.

What happened is this:

Jason wanted his money back ( the amount of stolen items totaled over $1,000 and would have been a grand theft charge ). When Jason said he was calling the cops Angel begged and pleaded for him not to. She turned on Becky, trying to shift blame. Angel was intent on getting the money back so Jason would not call the cops. She had plenty of motive to shift blame, and was fighting with Becky. Eventually, Angel persuaded another man present, Charles Leroy Cope, to help her tie Becky up to a pole with duct tape, to force her to say where the stolen items were. Then, bizarrely she started taping herself to another pole, apparently in an attempt to make it look as though she was a victim. When Jason came into the room, Angel told Jason no one was leaving until Jason recovered the remainder of his money. Shortly afterwards, Angel called 911, and eventually claimed that she and Becky were victims.

Charles gave statements to police consistent with Jason’s account. He was repeatedly asked if Jason ever touched, hit or threatened Angel or Becky, and responded that did not happen. However at trial, Charles’ attorney argued a “duress” defense consistent with the prosecution theory of events. Charles’ attorney failed to consult at all with his client before the preliminary hearing. Charles’ attorney later  told Jason’s attorney if he had known Jason had witnesses and evidence to rebut the prosecution case, he would not have offered a duress defense. Charles had issues from heavy drinking and drug use for years, and was battling with dementia and Alzheimer’s and did not testify. During proceedings he was seen shaking his head,  telling the assistant next to him no, that isn’t what happened, and that isn’t what he said.

At sentencing, Charles said he did not believe Jason could have done what he was convicted of, he never saw Jason hit either woman while they were all in the basement where he was living at the time. “I wasn’t upstairs, I don’t know, but I can’t believe him beating on those women,” he said. “Downstairs … that’s all I know, he never touched ’em downstairs. I never seen him hurt ’em.” He didn’t know what happened upstairs, he was sorry for it and said Jason was a good man who had helped him.

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News

Friday March 17, 2017 Sadowski found not guilty on all seven counts

Report at National Registry of Exonerations

David Shelton

David Shelton has been in prison for more than 23 years for crimes that he did not commit, sentenced to 40-60 years for two counts of breaking and three counts of criminal sexual conduct.

The jury never saw evidence that proves David, aged 27 at the time, could not have committed the crimes.

1. DNA evidence found in one victims’s home and found in the mask that both victims said the criminal wore rules out all African-American men, including David.

2. Neither victim could identify David out of a lineup.

3. One victim originally stated that perpetrator was a white man, but later said it was a  black man. DNA evidence proves that her first description was correct.

4. The Michigan State Police who did the testing were never called to testify about the lab reports that prove David innocent.

5. The lead detective, Robert Aeileo only turned over 3 pages of the lab report, including a cover sheet, while 10 pages were concealed.

6. Head Deputy Cecil Dawson fabricated  a confession which David never made to obtain the conviction.

7. Cecil Dawson and Sergeant Christine Bursey who were in charge of the case were later both sent to prison for selling drugs, and the police department was shut down due to corruption ( see extract from news report below ).

8. David’s defense lawyer has been reprimanded and suspended numerous times.

David’s son has made two videos explaining the above points in more detail:

In 2004, the Innocence Project took on the case, and re-opened it in 2012, however so far all appeals have been denied.

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From a 2013 news report:

Last year former Township Supervisor William Morgan pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy in federal court and admitted to conspiring to accept a $10,000 bribe, defrauding the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal and making a false statement in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. Morgan admitted taking the bribe in an attempt to steer a HUD demolition contract to the man who gave him the bribe.
While Gatewood was police chief in the late 1990s, his deputy chief, Cecil Dawson, was sentenced to seven years in prison for protecting drug houses in the township.
The Dawson case caused many in the community to vote against continuing with their own police department and in favor of sheriff’s patrols.
After 14 years, the sheriff’s department terminated its contract with the township this month over $300,000 in unpaid police service bills. Sheriff Michael Bouchard said funds from a voter-approved millage to support sheriff patrols weren’t making it to his department.
His cooperation with the DEA, FBI and other law enforcement agencies eventually led to charges against more’ than 25 people, including the former deputy chief of the Royal Oak Township Police Department and one of the township’s former officers, and two Highland Park public safety officers. For federal prosecutors in Detroit, Rodriguez, who was sentenced this fall to more than 17 years in prison, was a rare find, being so well connected with major drug traders. By the time Rodriguez’s reign ended, the federal government had agreed to pay more than $150,000 to move 40 of his relatives from Colombia and California to unknown locations in the United States. Rodriguez has expressed hope his cooperation will lead to a shorter sentence.
Rodriguez certainly changed the lives of the four metro Detroit officers. Three of the four pleaded guilty to charges related to cocaine trafficking. A fourth stood trial and was convicted. Former Royal Oak Township Deputy Chief Cecil Dawson, 49, of South-field was sentenced Dec. 8 to 10 years in prison; former Highland Park officer Albert Bursey, 47, was Sentenced to the same term Dec. 17. Krwin Heard, 46, a former Highland Park officer, was sentenced in May to 15 months in federal prison. Albert Bursey’s wife, Christine Bursey, 47, a former Royal Oak Township police officer, stood trial, was convicted and was sentenced Dec. 17 to 15 years and eight months in prison. lawyers for Dawson and Christine Bursey could not be reached for comment recently. But Dawson apologized at his sentencing.

Lorinda Swain

Lorinda Swain was convicted in 2002 for sexually abusing her adopted son.

But her son later told the court he’d lied about the abuse. After more than seven years in prison, Swain was let out on bond when a judge ruled she deserved a new trial.

But the Court of Appeals overruled that decision two separate times.

Source: What does an innocent person have to do to get their conviction overturned? April 4, 2016

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Calhoun Co. prosecutor won’t retry Lorinda Swain May 19, 2016
“In an order issued Wednesday, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Swain was entitled to a new trial. Later the same day, Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert told 24 Hour News 8 that his office would not move forward with the retrial.”

Dennis and Dameko Vesey

Dennis and Dameko Vesey were convicted of a triple homicide, which occurred in the early morning hours of April 5. 2003.

At that time, Taurus Hill and his girlfriend Tayquela Roberson and their four children were present in the apartment. At least two men entered the apparently with the intention of robbing Mr. Hill, who was known to sell drugs from his apartment, Mr Hill and Ms. Roberson shot to death and Ms Roberson collapsed atop her infant son Taurus Hill Jr.,smothering him to death. The remaining children hid and then ran for help.

Investigators found no forensic evidence to tie my sons to the crime scene, neither did they make any incriminating statements.

Law enforcement authorities investigated for more than one year before arresting them.

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Kenneth Grondin

20-year-old Andrea Eilber was found shot to death  in 2011.

Her boyfriend, Kenneth Grondin, was convicted of her murder.

His family maintains he didn’t do it.

“He was OK because he knew that he was innocent and that it would all work out,” said Kenneth’s mother, April Grondin.

It’s not the holiday season the Grondin family envisioned.

They were sure their son, 23-year-old Kenneth, would be cleared of murder charges this past October, but instead, a jury found him guilty of murdering Eilber.

“I think they had their mind made up as soon as they found her body,” April said.

They’re convinced someone else pulled the trigger on Eilber while she was house-sitting in Lapeer County’s Mayfield Township.

Source abc12.com December 28, 2015

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Daniel Wolfe and Gregory Derbyshire

Donald Reynolds was murdered in the early morning hours of September 4, 1980 during a robbery outside of the bar that he owned in Jackson, Michigan.

No one was arrested immediately after the crime, however 14 years later, Gary Raab claimed to police he was with Daniel Wolfe and Gregory Derbyshire when they committed the crime.

Wolfe and Derbyshire were convicted of the crime in separate trials, based mainly on Raab’s testimony, for which he was given immunity from prosecution.

At trial Raab admitted telling Detective Clifton Edwards during his first interview that he could not recall anything concerning the incident. Raab said that he only recovered his memory of the events after having spoken with Detective Edwards in December of 1994, through “flashes” that he had in his sleep. Raab also told Detective Edwards that he had a grudge against Wolfe.

Raab’s account was contrary to the testimony of other witnesses, and also contrary to the forensic evidence.

In addition the defence offered evidence suggesting that the crime may have been committed by others:

Eugene Hobbins, who lived behind the Silver Rail Bar past the railroad tracks, testified that at around 3 a.m. on a day in early September, he saw his neighbor, John Wheeler, run quickly and dive into the basement window of Wheeler’s house. Hobbins testified that Wheeler attempted to sell him two .22 caliber rifles at around the same time, telling Hobbins, that they were not his guns, but they belonged to somebody he knew. John Wheeler testified at trial and admitted committing several burglaries, including one against the Silver Rail Bar in 1981 or 1982, but denied that he ran home on September 4, 1980. Wheeler could not recall selling two .22 caliber rifles to Hobbins.

An appeal ruling in 2006 (petitioner Wolfe) stated that “the record would have supported an acquittal” however the appeal was denied. The same ruling noted many inconsistencies:

Raab testified that the petitioner, Derbyshire, and the victim were standing close together when the gun discharged; Raab testified to hearing one gunshot. Similarly, Michael Hession testified that the petitioner confessed to him that the gun went off during a struggle. On the contrary, the autopsy results showed that the victim was shot twice in the back and side of the head behind his ear with a .22 rifle, and no powder burns were observed on the victim, suggesting that he was not shot at close range. Police witnesses testified that two additional shots had been fired into the victim’s vehicle. Another inconsistency resulted from the testimony of Wade Miller that Tom Walling was present in the vehicle when he and the petitioner and Derbyshire cased the bar in July and August of 1980 just before the murder; it was established through prison records that Walling was in prison from 1979 to 1982.

Summary

What seems likely : Wolfe and Derbyshire discussed robbing the Silver Rail Bar, but in fact someone else actually committed the robbery and murder, and Raab and Kilgore testified against Wolfe and Derbyshire due to suspicions, a grudge and threats from the cops.

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Melvin and George DeJesus

Melvin and George DeJesus were wrongly convicted for the 1995 rape and murder of Margaret Midkiff.

Brandon Gohagen  fled to a different State and his DNA was a match to semen found at the crime scene.

However, when arrested, he claimed that the DeJesus bothers had ordered him to rape Midkiff. There was nothing to corroborate the claim, nevertheless the DeJesus brothers, who lived next door to Midkiff were convicted.

This video explains the case in more detail:

In particular, Gohagen claimed he met the DeJesus brothers in a tent, however the tent was not purchased until days after the murder.

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Lamarr Monson

Lamarr Monson was convicted of brutally killing a 12-year-old girl in 1996.

He was tricked into a confessing that he stabbed the girl, but in fact it wasn’t true. A year later, the homicide inspector who oversaw Monson’s interrogation was removed for illegally obtaining confessions.

Now the finger-prints of someone who confessed to his girl friend have been matched to the likely murder weapon, a toilet seat.

The Michigan Innocence Clinic has filed a motion, arguing this new evidence is grounds for Lamarr Monson to get a new trial.

It’s been nearly 20 years since he went to prison.

“I knew he was innocent. But everywhere I went, I could get no help. No help. Nobody believed,” says Delores Monson, Lamarr’s mother.

Source

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News

Jan 30, 2017: Lamarr Monson, convicted of killing Detroit girl in 1996, granted new trial 

Feb 2, 2017 Released on Bond.

Gary Leiterman

Gary Leiterman was convicted after worthless DNA evidence linked him to the 1968 murder of Jane Mixer.

Leitermans’s DNA, Jane Mixer’s evidence from her murder, and John Ruelas’ DNA were all in the Michigan State Police lab at the same time. It’s obvious that there was contamination, since in 1969 Ruelas was a young child.

An alternate possible suspect is serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards.

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Quentin Carter Exonerated

It’s common for authorities to be reluctant to re-investigate after a wrongful conviction. I have attempted to persuade Texas police to investigate a cold case with an obvious suspect ( the prosecution star witness ) with no success ( https://geebee2.wordpress.com/brenda-kay-epperson/ ).

Wrongful Convictions Blog

Quentin Carter, 40, maintained his innocence throughout nearly 17 years in prison following his conviction of the 1991 rape of a 10-year old child. He was likely denied parole numerous times because he would not express remorse for a crime he didn’t commit.

Carter was 16 when convicted. He was released in 2008 but was registered as a sex offender with all the restrictions this designation carries.

Kent County (MI) Prosecutor William Forsyth was instrumental in vacating Carter’s wrongful conviction, which occurred by order of a judge last Thursday.

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Jeremiah Dewey

Jeremiah Dewey’s15 year old step daughter Brittney was drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, posting naked photo’s of her self on the internet, and having a sexual relationship with her boy friend. When Jeremiah tried to stop these behaviors she falsely accused him of sexually molesting her in her bedroom.

After a corrupt investigation and trial, Jeremiah was convicted and sentenced to 22 years in prison.

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