Imprisoned 8 years for murders he did not commit, Davontae Sanford released

Davontae Sanford leaves the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia a free man on Wednesday.

WEB UPDATE: Davonte Sanford reunited with his family at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and FOX 2's Taryn Asher was there, see her Facebook live video above.


Davontae Sanford leaves the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia a free man on Wednesday.

Sanford, 23, was accompanied by his brother, Deshaun, and his attorneys Wednesday.

"It is a beautiful day (but) it could be pouring rain and it would be a beautiful day," said one of his attorneys.

Declining interviews for now, attorneys Valerie Newman and Heidi Naasko are just ready to get Davontae home.

"Today we complied with the judge's orders and released Davontae Sanford," said Chris Gautz, Michigan Department of Corrections. "He left with a bag of mail that's about seven years in the making, along with some other items and left to head home."

Home to his mother and the rest of his family after a tearful reunion with his brother.

"The first hug was to his brother - a very emotional moment - and then also his attorneys," Gautz said. "Then they spoke a few minutes and exited the building."

"It's a whirlwind of emotions," said Valerie Newman, Sanford's attorney. "He hasn't been able to hug his brother for eight years, almost nine years he hasn't been able to hug his brother."

A young man with special needs, who at age 14, confessed to killing four people on Runyon Street. He was sent away but hit man Vincent Smothers then admitted to the crime.

Finally after years of injustice, wrongful imprisonment - a judge ordered Davontae set free.

"We only want people here that are supposed to be here," Gautz said. "Credit to his attorneys and all the work they did and all the family that stood by him... and his family.

"It is a happy day for his family."

Sanford and his family plan to address the media Thursday but is having a private reunion tonight.
 


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