Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Davontae Sanford: Michigan: Bulletin: Major Development: Cleared at last: The murder charges that led him to spend eight years in prison as a teen for four slayings that were eventually linked to a hit man have been formally dismissed.
"A judge dismissed charges Tuesday and closed a murder case against a young Detroit man who went to prison as a teen for four slayings that were eventually linked to a hit man. Though Davontae Sanford, 23, was released from prison June 8, a day after his convictions were thrown out at the request of a prosecutor, Judge Brian Sullivan still needed to dismiss the murder charges to guarantee his freedom.........Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Sanford's guilty pleas in 2008 were spoiled after state police found misconduct by Detroit police. But the case had many problems, including an extraordinary confession by a hit man who said he committed the so-called Runyon Street slayings in 2007, not Sanford, who was just 14 at the time. At age 15, Sanford pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the middle of trial, a decision that his appellate lawyers blamed on a woeful defense attorney. He was sentenced to at least 39 years in prison. Efforts to get him out of prison lasted years but gained momentum in 2015 when law schools at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University took up his cause with a point-by-point rebuttal of the case. The cornerstone of their challenge: a detail-rich affidavit by hit man Vincent Smothers, who explained how he killed the four people in a drug house."