Detroit Man Freed, innocence project, Ledura Watkins, National, News, Wayne County Jail -

Michigan Man Convicted on Single Hair Freed After 41 Years

Detroit Man Freed, innocence project, Ledura Watkins, National, News, Wayne County Jail -

Michigan Man Convicted on Single Hair Freed After 41 Years

Ledura Watkins, 61, greets family and supporters following his release Thursday, June 15, 2017, from the Wayne County Jail in Detroit. (AP Photo/Corey Williams)

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit man who spent four decades in prison was freed on Thursday after prosecutors agreed that his 1976 murder conviction hinged on the flimsiest of evidence: a single hair.

Ledura Watkins, 61, walked out of the Wayne County Jail in downtown Detroit after a court hearing in which his conviction was overturned.

“It’s really surreal … kind of unbelievable,” he told reporters. “But I’m feeling great. I expected this to happen. I didn’t think it would take 41 years.”

Watkins was 20 years old when he was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1975 shooting death of 25-year-old Yvette Ingram during a robbery at her home. Police lab analysts tied Watkins to the crime based on a single hair found at the scene, according to the Innocence Project at the Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School, which took up Watkins’ case and asked a court in January to set aside the conviction.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office agreed that the evidence was flawed under the new FBI standard for hair comparison, Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the office, said in a statement.

Marla Mitchell-Cichon, the law school’s Innocence Project director, said hair comparison is not based on science.

“It is simply a lab analyst’s subjective opinion and has no place in our criminal justice system. This is why a statewide review of hair comparison cases is critical,” she said.

Watkins, who worked for years to clear his name, said he was looking forward to having dinner with his family, probably at a Chinese restaurant.

“It took me years to get to this point. I don’t want to touch another law book,” Watkins said.

He is the second Michigan inmate to be released in recent weeks after having a decades-old conviction thrown out.

Desmond Ricks was freed in late May after having served 25 years for the killing of a friend outside a Detroit restaurant. An analysis of two bullets taken from the victim showed they didn’t match the gun that prosecutors offered as the murder weapon at Ricks’ 1992 trial.

Ricks was aided by lawyers and students from the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan’s law school.


Leave a comment

Related Posts

San Francisco Giants respond to owner’s contribution to racist GOP ad for French Hill
San Francisco Giants co-owner Charles Johnson came under fire recently for reportedly making financial contributions ...
Read More
‘Words cannot express the joy’: Kenya Moore has fairytale-themed baby shower
Kenya Moore is expecting her first child with businessman Marc Daly and the two threw a lavish fairy-tale themed baby...
Read More
Amy Schumer slams white players for failing to participate in anthem protests, refuses to do Super Bowl commercial
Amy Schumer has added her voice to the chorus backing athlete turned activist Colin Kaepernick and NFL players kneeli...
Read More
Seven charged in Fort Valley State campus prostitution ring
Seven people, including two former employees of Fort Valley State University, have been charged with running a sex an...
Read More

Tags