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Case tossed for man convicted of rape, hours later new assault charges announced

Posted: 5:58 PM, Jan 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-10 23:06:43Z

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The convictions of two men were overturned after the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office Conviction Integrity Unit became involved. However, in a stunning turn of events, one of the men received a new assault charge just hours after learning he would be freed.

Kevin Lackey, 45, was very emotional in court Thursday when a rape conviction against him was tossed out.

But just hours later, the Wayne County Prosecutor announced Lackey is being charged in a new assault case that allegedly happened while he was out last month.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, on Dec. 22, 2018, Lackey allegedly physically assaulted his 46-year-old female domestic partner while armed with a handgun. He's now charged with felonious assault, felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of felony firearm and domestic violence.

The case Lackey had overturned stemmed from a July 5, 1992 incident where it was alleged that he had sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl on the back porch of her home. Lackey was convicted by a jury on Jan. 26, 1993 and sentenced to 15 to 25 consecutive years in prison on several counts, including first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person under 13, second-degree criminal sexual conduct and breaking and entering with intent to commit a criminal sexual crime.

When the WCPO Conviction Integrity Unit got involved, it was uncovered that the identification of the suspect was based on "profoundly invalid dog tracking evidence," which was crucial to Lackey's conviction, according to a release from the prosecutor's office.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office then moved to vacate Lackey's convictions.

Lackey will soon be arraigned on his most recent assault charges. No date has been provided yet.

Another conviction, but this time for murder against 39-year-old Michael Powels, was also tossed out Thursday.

On Dec. 2, 2007, Powels was found guilty of second-degree murder in the June 18, 2006 shooting death of Robert Sawyer. According to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, there was only one male witness to connect Powels to the homicide, despite the fact that the witness did not see the shooting. Powels was then sentenced to 45 to 75 years in prison on Jan. 2, 2008.

The Court of Appeals affirmed Powels' conviction and sentence, and the Michigan Supreme Court denied an appeal. A current pending Motion for Relief from Judgment was filed, causing a stay of the case, pending review by the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU).

The CIU uncovered that the witness in Powels' trial falsified his testimony, and as a result, Powels should be granted a new trial. However, the CIU added that because remaining evidence on the case is significantly weaker without the witness testimony, Powels' case should not be retried but instead thrown out completely.