Detroit man's murder conviction dismissed after 25 years in prison
(WJBK) - The homicide case against a Detroit man imprisoned for 25 years was dismissed Thursday.
The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office announced it will not retry 51-year-old Desmond Ricks, and his charges of second-degree murder, felony firearm and habitual offender second offense were vacated.
Ricks was convicted of killing another man in Detroit in 1992, but claimed Detroit police framed him. He was sentenced to serve 30-60 years in prison after a mandatory 2-year imprisonment.
The Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School worked with prosecutors to take a look at evidence again.
“We worked collaboratively with the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic to secure a reanalysis of the ballistic evidence in this case," Prosecutor Kim Worthy said in a release. "The ultimate result was that we agreed to the motion requesting a new trial on May 26, 2017. After thoroughly examining the remaining evidence in the case we have concluded that we cannot proceed to trial, and today we agree that Mr. Ricks should be released.”
In 1992, Ricks was with a man named Gary Bennett outside a burger restaurant in Detroit, when Bennett was shot in the head. Ricks says he dodged gunfire and ran away. Police accused him of the crime and seized his mother's gun.
Pictures showed that the bullets removed from the victim, Gary Bennet, were in bad shape, and didn't look like the bullets Detroit police presented as evidence in court back in 1992.
Police argued back then that the murder weapon was Ricks' mother's firearm. The clinic discovered of the two bullets, one didn't match the alleged gun and the other was too mangled to be analyzed.
Judge Richard Skutt of the 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne County overturned the murder conviction, making Ricks a free man.
After the court proceedings Thursday, Ricks thanked all those who helped him along his way.
As for what's next: "I'm just happy to be here right now -- take it one day at a time," he said.
Ricks says while some might say the wrong thing happened, he understands life.
"I'm just happy to be exonerated. I can just take my life and move forward. I don't have time to be bitter and angry," he said.
Ricks says it doesn't excuse what happened, but he can't spend his life mad over it.
"I just didn't want to die in prison," he said. "I knew what they did to me all along, I just had to get somebody else to believe me."
Fox 2 reached out to the Detroit Police Department for comment on the case.
CLICK HERE to read the court's full findings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.