JACKSON, Mich. (WJBK) - For the first time in 14 years, "White Boy Rick" Wershe had a chance Thursday to explain why he should be free.
Among those arguing for him in front of the Michigan Parole Board were two former FBI agents.
"I've never known him to tell me a lie, and I've been talking to him once, twice a week for 29 years," said former agent Gregg Schwarz.
Fellow retired agent Herman Groman agreed.
"He played a pivotal role in introducing the undercover agent, which led to the arrest and conviction of a number of corrupt police officers," he said.
They came a long way to support Wershe -- Schwarz from Virginia and Groman from Las Vegas.
They knew Rick when he was teenage informant for the FBI and Detroit police.
- 6/5/2017 - 'White Boy' Rick Wershe parole hearing set for June 8
- 4/14/2017 - 'White Boy' Rick Wershe granted public parole hearing
- 2/14/2017 - Parole board could vote for 'White Boy Rick' hearing after meeting with chairman
- 9/29/2017 - Appeals Court rules Rick Wershe won't be resentenced
- 9/20/2017 - Should "White Boy Rick" be released from jail?
- 9/4/2015 - 'White Boy' Rick Wershe to be resentenced Sept. 18
He helped bust drug dealers in his east side neighborhood before dealing dope and earning the nickname "White Boy" Rick.
Wershe was sentenced to life in prison without parole under a law Michigan later repealed.
U.S. Supreme Court later declared lifer laws for juveniles unconstitutional, yet his family still waits for him to be free.
"He deserves to be out. I've been to visit him many times and had compliments from guards on how good he is," said his mother, Darlene McCormick.
His sister Dawn says she believes he's very remorseful.
"I can tell you he won't be back," she said.
Complicating Wershe's case is a conviction more than 10 years ago for helping sell stolen cars while serving time in Florida.
Still, his FBI friends say he's paid his debt.
"I don't know of anybody that I've dealt with over the years and I've been associated with the FBI for I'm going on 46 years, I've never seen anybody cooperate like Richard Wershe. I mean he literally had the safety of undercover agents in the palm of his hand, and he always did the right thing," Schwarz said.
Wershe's sister is optimistic and hopes he'll soon be making up for lost time.
“I felt it was a positive meeting and there was some unenlightening things that came out that I don't feel were true," she said. "He was a new start. He wants his family. He wants his kids.”
The parole board could make a decision as early as next month.
If that happens, his next challenge will be avoiding prison in Florida.