(WJBK) - He's serving a life sentence for being a teenaged drug kingpin, and now "White Boy" Rick Wersche" is back before a parole board, hoping to gain his freedom.
"I think he was aspiring to be bigger than he was and they made him bigger than he was and then he got the name white boy rick and then that sort of raised him to a mythical proportion," said Allan Lengel of deadlinedetroit.com.
Richard Wershe Jr. got into the drug trade in the 1980s as a 14-year-old informant for the FBI.
After he started selling coke, he became notorious for his youth. And of course, there was that nickname.
"A name like that sort of makes him stand out," Lengel said.
Lengel's interviewed Rick many times during Wershe's 29 years in prison.
I started writing columns trying to start things up again but it was such an injustice that he was still behind bars for so long," he said. "You see a lot of other drug dealers much bigger than him who got convicted in the federal system were out after 10 years."
Vince Wade is a longtime investigator who studied Wershe's last bid for parole in 2003.
"They didn't let him out because there was a lot of purgery and it was on the part of law enforcement," Wade said.
Rick helped bust corrupt cops and got into more trouble in prison.
"I essentially think that Rick Wershe is a political prisoner and because he told on the wrong people," Wade said.
Lengel says Wershe should've been freed years ago and that the legend of White Boy Rick has been his biggest problem.
"Rick's got a name, so Rick messes up, Rick gets a DUI when he gets out, it's going to be front-page news. I mean, Rick does anything. If Rick stole a pencil afterwards, it'd be front-page news," he said.