Teenager wrongly convicted of 4 murders

Teenager wrongly convicted of 4 murders

SKY NEWS:-A prison inmate who confessed when he was 14 to the murders of four people has been released a day after his conviction was thrown out.

Davontae Sanford, now 23, walked free from a western Michigan facility on Wednesday after nine years in jail.

He confessed to the 15 September 2007 killings after two days of interrogations without a lawyer present.

But state police have since learned a diagram of the crime scene that investigators said was drawn by Mr Sanford was actually put together by Detroit police.

Prosecutors conceded that detail “seriously undermines” his confession.

Judge Brian Sullivan threw out Mr Sanford’s conviction on Tuesday at the request of the Wayne County prosecutor’s office.

Questions have long been raised about the conviction since a professional hit man took responsibility for the murders at a drug den.

But prosecutor Kym Worthy had refused efforts to revisit the case until law schools at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University and other pro bono lawyers became involved last year.

Heidi Naasko, an attorney for Mr Sanford, said: “The court’s decision corrects a grave injustice.”

Mr Sanford has been trying for years to undo his guilty plea to second-degree murder at age 15.

Soon after his conviction, professional hitman Vincent Smothers insisted he carried out the Runyon Street homicides and that Mr Sanford had no role.

Smothers, 35, has said he would never have used a child like Mr Sanford as an accomplice on such a job.

In an affidavit filed in court last year, Smothers described in great detail how he and another man carried out the Runyon Street killings.

Smothers is in prison for 52 years after pleading guilty in 2010 to eight other killings.

He told the Associated Press during a prison interview in 2012 that he wanted to help Mr Sanford.

“I understand what prison life is like,” Smothers said. “It’s miserable. To be here and be innocent, I don’t know what it’s like.”

“He’s a kid, and I hate for him to do the kind of time they’re giving him.”

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