Hitman says he pulled trigger in 2004 murder - not the man convicted

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A hit man in prison for eight murders is now confessing to another killing, saying the wrong man was convicted.

That "wrong man" is Thelonious Searcy, 38, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of Jamal Segars in September of 2004. Searcy says he didn't do it.

Now well-known confessed hitman Vincent smothers is backing him up. Smothers told the judge he is responsible for that murder and many others.

Prosecutor: "You pleaded guilty is that correct?"

Smothers: "That is correct."

Prosecutor: "To a number of counts of second degree murder?

Smothers: "Eleven."

Smothers, now 37 years old, is already serving a sentence of 50 to 100 years for murder. That includes the murders that Devontae Sanford spent so many years behind bars for, murders Sanford did not commit.

And Smothers says Searcy's not guilty either, another wrongful conviction.

"Once I found out somebody was locked up for it, I later ended up finding out who it was an all of that," Smothers said on the witness stand. "As I stated before, it is hard enough when you are guilty, twice as hard when you're innocent."

Which is why Smothers says he confessed to private investigator and former FOX 2 investigative reporter Scott Lewis. The private investigator was hired by Searcy's family to look into his case. 

Lewis interviewed Smothers by phone during the course of that investigation - a confession played in court - in an effort to free Thelonious Searcy, who prosecutors still maintain is the real killer.


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On the recording: 

Lewis: "Vincent, who committed the murder of Jamal Segars?"

"I did," Smothers says on tape.

This hearing is scheduled to resume Thursday, FOX 2 will be there and bring you the latest.