Monday, June 13, 2016

Davontae Sanford freed by judge after Vincent Smothers confession that he was the murder was accepted to be true

A JUDGE has ordered the release of a man who was sent to prison at 15 year old, eight years ago, for killing four people.

The prosecutor’s office agreed Davontae Sanford’s second-degree murder conviction should be vacated after state police re-examined the case.

Former hit-man Vincent Smothers confessed to the killings two weeks after Mr Sanford went to jail, but that confession was ignored despite the fact that he provided details that included where one of the murder weapons was stashed.

Judge Brian Sullivan said he signed the order on Tuesday and Mr Sanford is expected to be released on bond.

Mr Sanford, now 23, is in prison for the 2007 fatal shootings of four people at a Detroit drug den.

He pleaded guilty at age 15. He’s been trying to undo that plea for years, especially after Smothers, confessed.

Three weeks after Michigan State Police turned over the results of an 11-month investigation of the case, which, sources told The Detroit News, found Smothers and his partner Ernest Davis — not Sanford — were responsible for the September 17, 2007, killings in Detroit.

Smothers insists Sanford had no role.

“I have nothing to gain from testifying about my commission of the Runyon murders,” said Smothers, who is serving 52 years in prison for killing eight other people, including the wife of a Detroit police officer. “I only want to tell the truth in order to prevent an innocent kid from serving time for crimes that I committed.”

Smothers’ lawyer, Gabi Silver, said: “It’s about time. It’s too bad nobody listened years ago when Vincent Smothers said he did it, so this kid wouldn’t have to spend so much time in prison for a crime he didn’t do.”

Sanford’s family says he confessed to please police.

“Today, justice finally arrives for the Sanford family,” said Heidi Naasko, pro bono counsel for Dykema Gossett PLLC, which represents Sanford. “No one can give Davontae Sanford and his family back the nine years he has spent in jail for a crime he did not commit, but the Court’s decision today corrects a grave injustice. The entire legal team is thrilled that he will not spend another day in prison for a crime he did not commit.”

Original report here

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