When Davontae Sanford was only 14 years old, he was sentenced to 37-to-90 years after pleading guilty to four counts of second-degree homicide in four murders. Now, nine years later at the age of 23, Sanford is being released after it was found that he inaccurately pleaded guilty following the advice of his attorney.
According to USA Today, a professional hitman Vincent Smothers confessed to those same murders, and eight others, just two weeks after Sanford’s inaccurate confession. Smothers even gave an affidavit last year repeating his claims that Sanford had no involvement in the crimes.
“Davontae’s family, friends and supporters knew from the outset that he was innocent and wrongfully convicted,” his family said in statement. “As the judge’s order confirms, Davontae had nothing to do with these murders. We are grateful to those who have fought for many years on Davontae’s behalf and thankful to soon have Davontae home with us.”
Investigators found that Detroit Police Deputy Chief James Tolbert gave contradictory reports in the past about Sanford drawing up a detailed outline of the building and where the bodies could be found. Tolbert went on to become the chief of the Flint, MI police department in 2013 but was removed from the position last year.
“No one can give Davontae Sanford and his family back the nine years he has spent in jail for a crime he did not commit, but the court’s decision today corrects a grave injustice,” said Heidi Naasko, Sanford’s attorney.
Photo Credit: Associated Press