Richard Wershe, then and now.
He's spent nearly three decades behind bars now the former drug dealer turned informer "White Boy Rick" may soon be free.
Richard Wershe was busted when he was 17 and sentenced to life in prison under a law that has since been abolished.
On Friday Wayne County Judge Dana Hathaway will consider a motion to re-sentence the man who has served more prison time than any other juvenile offender in Michigan history.
"This is horrific what they have done to another human being," said attorney Ralph Musilli. "This is something out of the dark ages."
Musilli described the last 27 years for his client Richard Wershe. He was a teenage drug king pin and former police informant busted at 17 for moving eight kilos of cocaine and convicted under a law that would lock him up for life.
That was in 1988.
Since then, life sentences for minors under the Michigan Constitution are no longer allowed. Although Wershe’s sentence was changed to allow the possibility of parole, he still sits behind bars.
"He wonders why he is still in jail when all of these people he helped put in jail are out,” said Musilli. "When he helped his government."
In prison, Wershe cooperated with the FBI to help break up drug rings and solve other crimes. Yet each time Wershe has come up for parole, it's been denied.
Musilli has a theory why.
"He cost somebody an awful lot of money," he said. "When he helped break up the drug activity he broke up, somebody in a position of power, in a position to direct revenge on him is mightily ticked off."
But Wershe may finally have the chance to see the light of day, after Hathaway agreed to consider a motion for re-sentencing.
That Musilli says under the best case scenario could have Wershe out by Christmas.
"I'm just worried about his safety as much as his freedom," Musilli said. "But he's very hopefully this is it; he's finally going to get out of jail."
Musilli says the Wayne County Prosecutor's office may try to stand in his way. Spokeswoman Maria Miller said they oppose the motion and reportedly feel Wershe has not provided a sufficient basis to invalidate his sentence.
Wershe is expected to learn his fate Friday morning when he appears in court.
"Who in the hell after almost 28 years in prison still wants him in jail," Musilli said. "When they are letting bad guys out."
Musilli said if someone were to commit the same crimes today under the guidelines, they would get around 10 years and be out by now.
If the hearing does not go in his favor, Wershe's next chance at parole is 2017.