(WXYZ) — They are speaking out after spending nearly 2 decades in prison for murder they did not commit. Two men from metro Detroit are also praising attorneys who worked hard on their cases, for helping them receive justice.
The men were wrongfully imprisoned for a shooting murder in Inkster in 2002, but never gave up hope nor stopped professing their innocence. “Pure joy. Pure excitement.” says Kevin Harrington after his release.
Also set free thanks to charges being dropped, was George Clark.
“My case and the way it played out is inspiring to guys behind me, to give them hope not to give up.” says Clark.
“The University of Michigan. The conviction integrity unit and Valerie Newman. These guys worked day and night for years to right this wrong.” adds Harrington. Investigators working for the University of Michigan innocence clinic, Jones Day law firm and a specialized conviction integrity unit in Wayne County found a new witness who actually saw the shooting murder.
Attorney Valerie Newman lead the team that also found prior witnesses were threatened, and intimidated to lie by detectives. Newman says “We’ll look at any case where someone maintains their innocence, and there’s new evidence to support their innocence.”
Attorney Wolf Mueller plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of the men, and says cases where innocent men are placed behind bars are far too common. “These 2 men are innocent. They didn’t participate in it. In fact U of M found the murderer, who is now deceased.” says Mueller.
Newman adds, the system is not perfect and a unit such as the conviction integrity unit is designed to help write the wrongs. “Primarily it involves finding new witnesses or new evidence, that nobody knew about and wasn’t presented at the time of trial, that shows the person didn’t commit the crime.” says Newman.
The men we spoke with and their attorney all say, it’s so important for cases like this to be given another look. That’s why they support more units like this being opened in other counties.