(WJBK) - Accused of shooting in the direction of homes out in Phoenix, Devontae Sanford's lawyer is arguing Thursday his client was instead shooting at mountains and dirt, and says people may be targeting his client.
Devontae spent nearly nine years in prison, locked up at 15 years old for four murders he did not commit. But thanks to some good lawyers, Devante was released in 2016 and eventually moved with his brother to Arizona to start a new life.
But on Tuesday he was arrested and charged for being part of a group of men shooting high-powered weapons in the direction of a subdivision and park, police say.
"He was doing what is apparently widely done in the Phoenix area. He went out in the desert and was shooting a gun off in the direction of the mountains and into the dirt," said his attorney Bill Goodman.
Police say Davontae's neighbors called the police after smelling marijuana in his home.
"Because he and his brother were two young black men, I believe they were targeted and people were fearful for no good reason whatsoever," Goodman said.
He and his brother are now charged with aggravated assault and endangerment.. After being released on personal bond, Devante said he's innocent on Facebook.
"I'm living life man, responsibly," he said in a video. "I'm living. I ain't doing nothing, you hear me?"
Devante received a little over $400,000 from the Michigan for being wrongfully convicted. Now his attorney is suing the cops in a civil rights lawsuit for more money. That case alleges Detroit police kept the confession of the true murderer hidden from Davontae.
"People were told don't talk about this, we solved this case already, when they actually had framed a 14-year-old innocent kid," Goodman said.
Whether the Arizona case will have an effect on the civil rights lawsuit here in Michigan, it's too early to tell.
"He has friends, and other than myself, good lawyers," Goodman said.
Devonte is schedule to appear in court in Arizona on March 30.