All charges against a Detroit man were dropped on Thursday after he spent some 25 years in prison.
According to the Associated Press, Desmond Ricks long accused police of pinning a murder on him by seizing his mother’s gun and switching bullets in the case.
An analysis of two bullets from the victim showed that they did not match the gun that was given as the murder weapon at Ricks’ trial in 1992, where he was accused of shooting a friend outside a local restaurant and sentenced to at least 32 years in prison.
Ricks was released from prison last Friday after his second-degree murder conviction was thrown out, but this Thursday the Wayne County prosecutor’s office announced that Ricks will not be facing another trial.
“I hope you enjoy your newfound freedom,” Judge Richard Skutt told Ricks at the close of the hearing on Thursday.
According to the AP, Ricks, now 51, hugged and shook hands with his legal team, made up of mostly lawyers and students from the Innocence Clinic at University of Michigan’s law school. They were the ones who asked the judge to revisit the case in 2016, after photos of the two bullets taking from the victim, Gerry Bennett, did not resemble the bullets that were examined by a gun expert before Rick’s original trial.
The bullets taken from Bennett were still in police storage, and the tests done within recent weeks proved that they did not match the gun that Ricks’ mother owned in 1992.
“I don’t have time to be angry or mad,” Ricks told reporters outside court. “I just want to live.”
As the AP notes, Ricks will likely be able to benefit from a new Michigan law that awards the wrongly convicted some $50,000 for each year of imprisonment.
Director of the Innocence Clinic David Moran called the police conduct in the case “criminal,” however no retired officers can be pursued for justice, as too many years have passed, the wire notes.
Moran added that the state police should revisit more cases that were handled by the Detroit police gun lab before it was closed due to shoddy work in 2008.
“If it happened once it would be very surprising if there’s not a lot of other cases like it,” he said.
Read more at CBS News.