After being locked up in prison for 25 years, the entire time claiming he was framed by the Detroit police department, a man finally gets to be free to live his life. New tests have absolved Desmond Ricks, now 51, of a 1992 murder he’s certain police framed him for.
“I’m not bitter,” Desmond Ricks, 51, said “I’m not angry. I’m just relieved.”
In 1992, Ricks was convicted for the murder of Gerry Bennett outside a restaurant in Detroit. Ricks was near Bennett when he was shot in the head. Ricks claims he ran away to avoid being killed himself.
It is believed the police took by Ricks mother’s gun and used it as false evidence.
In 2009, after 17 years behind bars, Ricks wrote a letter to independent firearms expert David Townshend and asked for help.
Townshend remembered the bullets given to him for inspection had no trace of hair, bone, or blood and were in seemingly unscathed shape.
According to the Innocence Clinic Director at the University of Michigan law school, Townshend is “a hero.”
“He was willing to put his reputation on the line,” David Moran said.
The Innocence Clinic pleaded for the reopening of the case in 2015 after prosecutors turned in pictures of the two bullets extracted from Bennett.
One of the bullets was not matched with Ricks mothers gun, the one police claimed was used to kill Bennett. The other bullet was too deformed for proper analysis.
Conclusively, there was no connection between the shooting and Ricks, and the Wayne County prosecutor’s office agreed to throw out the conviction. It is not likely a second trial will happen.
The crime lab responsible for analyzing the bullets was shut down in 2008 for a careless audit on gun traces.
“What Ricks was saying seemed to be outlandish. The Detroit police crime lab would not only make mistakes but switch bullets,” Moran said. “It wasn’t outlandish; it was true. This outlandish conduct cost Desmond Ricks 25 years.”
And now, after all these years, justice has prevailed and Ricks is entering society again.
Ricks has said that now he wants to get a job, pay taxes and just wants to be a normal citizen.