DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Prosecutors have dropped their case against a Detroit man cleared of murder after 25 years in prison.
Desmond Ricks, 51, had argued that he was framed by Detroit police. His conviction was set aside last week after a trial witness and an examination of two bullets showed they couldn’t be connected to a gun that was presented as the murder weapon in 1992.
The Wayne County Prosecutors Office announced at a pre-trial conference Thursday that it would not re-try him.
“We worked collaboratively with the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic to secure a reanalysis of the ballistic evidence in this case. The ultimate result was that we agreed to the motion requesting a new trial on May 26, 2017. After thoroughly examining the remaining evidence in the case we have concluded that we cannot proceed to trial, and today we agree that Mr. Ricks should be released.”
Per the Innocence Clinic, Ricks was convicted of killing pal Gerry Bennett outside a Detroit restaurant and sentenced to 30 years behind bars.
“The prosecution developed a case against Ricks that relied heavily on evidence from the now-defunct Detroit Police Department Crime Lab ballistics unit, which linked the bullets recovered from Bennett’s body to a .38 caliber revolver belonging to Ricks’ mother,” the Innocence Clinic wrote about the incident, adding that new evidence emerged that undermined the credibility of that evidence and instead suggested that the bullets that killed Bennett could not have been fired from the gun belonging to Ricks’s mother.
“This is a vindication for David Townshend, who went out on a limb and had the courage to say the bullets were switched and that caused him to give false results,” the Innocence Clinic added. “It’s also vindication for our students, who believed in this case and encouraged us to take it. We had a hard time believing it ourselves—that they [the now shuttered crime lab] could be so brazen as to switch bullets. The students convinced us that there was something to this case, and that we should take it. They were right.”
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