(FOX 2) - Criminal charges filed today in the 1984 rape and murder of a teenage girl that shook the city to its core. It eventually lead to a false confession, conviction, and later exoneration of a different man.
Kenneth Dupree, 72, was charged with the rape and murder of 16-year-old Michelle Jackson back in 1984. Amid a rash of rapes of teenage girls walking to and from school, Jackson disappeared on her way to catch her bus to Murray Wright High School. Her family found her body in a vacant garage near her home the next day -- she had been raped and strangled.
Almost 36 years later, her family is in court, hoping for justice. They've been down this road before. Eddie Jo Lloyd was wrongly convicted in the crime.
"I am thankful that justice will be done for Michelle Jackson and to really prove that Eddie Jo Lloyd had nothing to do with that," said Ruth Harlin, Lloyd's sister. "We believed him wholeheartedly. He was gone 17 1/2 years but we had no doubt that he did not commit that crime."
"Eddie always told us to keep the faith, and that's what we did."
Lloyd was finally exonerated with the help of the Innocence Project and released from prison in 2002.
"If Michelle Jackson could have spoken from the grave she would have told everybody Eddie Lloyd didn't do it and then she would have identified who did do it," Lloyd said years ago in a press conference.
Lloyd was the first inmate in Michigan to be freed because of DNA evidence, evidence that showed he could not have committed the crime. He was a psychiatric patient at the time who had been coerced into a false confession by Detroit police. He sued for damages but died before he was compensated for so many years lost.
"What is just compensation -- I mean, what kind of price tag could you put on 17 years three months and three days," Llyod said in a previous interview.
Now Ruth Harlin and the family of Michelle Jackson are getting their first look at the man police and prosecutors now say actually committed the crime -- the man accused of raping and murdering Jackson.
If Kenneth Dupree is her rapist and killer - it's not clear why he wasn't arrested and prosecuted long ago. He has a lengthy rap sheet including a rape conviction from 1970 and a 1979 conviction for criminal sexual conduct.
He has a hearing on the evidence against him in November. Ruth Harlin is hoping this time they got it right for the sake of everyone involved.
"I hope their family can finally have justice and know exactly what happened to their daughter and their relative. I hope it will all work out for them and they'll be at peace as well," she said.