(WJBK) - A man locked up in a Chinese prison after trying to break up a bar fight may be able to come home to Detroit.
Star athlete Wendell Brown traveled to China in the fall of 2016 to coach football for kids. Then one night, a fight broke out and he stepped in to defend someone else. Wendell was the one thrown behind bars -- even as surveillance video showed he did nothing wrong. Earlier this summer, he was sentenced to four years in jail -- after he'd already been there since September 24, 2016.
"(Receiving the sentence) was devastating. We were expecting them to basically deport him back to the United States and say it was time served, and we didn't get that. So it was upsetting to all involved, all the hard work, all the prayers. We know we must continue to fight," said his mother, Antoinette Brown.
It's a fight that will now take place in a Chinese courtroom with a new judge. It's almost been two years that Brown has sat in jail a world away, but this good news helps Antoninette keep her head up high.
"Things are looking up now where the judge is in agreeance that he wants to resolve this and return Wendell home. Of course, there is a financial compensation involved and we want to be prepared so we can have Wendell return home immediately," she said.
Even after a judge ordered him to remain behind bars this summer, this new judge seems different. This one is now considering a settlement in the case for $50,000. Brown's friends and family, including his 11-year-old son, are hoping enough people will chip in to his Go Fund Me page to finally get him home.
"He misses his family, his friends, his son and he can't wait to see us all," his mother said. "I can't wait to just hug my son and help him move forward in his life and continue to do great things for so many others."
But it's actually going to take closer to $59,000, money his best friend hopes will be easy to raise.
"He's not going to be able to get home if he doesn't have that amount of money required," said Deonta Smith.
If you would like to help Brown and his family, you can do so by donating to their GoFundMe account here.