DETROIT (WXYZ) - A big surprise Monday in the case of a former Michigan State Police Lieutenant accused of public corruption.
Just as Luke Davis' trial was getting underway in Monroe, he did an about-face, and accepted a plea deal.
Davis' two co-defendants had already entered guilty pleas and the prosecutor had the strongest evidence against Davis. So, this case that has dragged on for four-and-a-half years is finally coming to an end.
7 Action News Investigator Scott Lewis was first to expose sordid details of this case three years ago.
Luke Davis was accused of looting the drug forfeiture fund from the task force he ran in Monroe known as OMNI. Prosecutors say he and his co-defendants took property seized in drug raids, took some of it for themselves and sold the rest for cash to line their pockets.
It appeared that Davis was going to fight to the end. This morning a jury was chosen and the prosecutor delivered his opening argument.
When the jury came back from lunch to hear the defense attorney's opening argument, the case was suddenly put on hold, as the prosecutor and defense attorney huddled.
Then, the surprising announcement; Luke Davis decided to plead no contest to one count of racketeering, the most serious of twenty-four counts lodged against him.
A no contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea but the defendant does not have to admit guilt which provides some protection should the case be followed by civil action.
Davis has agreed to a sentence of two to twenty years in prison. Because he is an ex-cop with a clean record he'll likely only serve two years behind bars. If he had gone to trial and lost, the sentence likely would have been much stiffer.
Davis will be sentenced August 8th. His co-defendants, former state police lieutenant Manny Riopelle and civilian Lawrence Dusseau are scheduled for sentencing in June and July.
The state police now plan to go into civil court next and fight to take Luke Davis' police pension away.