Hitman admits committing quadruple murder for which teen was convicted of
A hitman, Vincent Smothers, is trying to clear the name of another man convicted for the 2007 murders of four people in Detroit by saying he knows who did it.
Smothers confessed to committing the quadruple murders.
The man convicted for the crime, Davontae Sanford (below), was 14 at the time of the murders and had actually confessed to the killings.
He pleaded guilty in his 2008 trial after confessing to the police.
Sanford, now 22, is serving 37 to 90 years in the Ionia Correctional Facility. He isn't eligible for parole until 2046.
'He did not commit crime': Smothers
Smothers gave a detailed affidavit last month taking responsibility for the killings. He said that he and another man shot and killed the four people. One of those four was a man that Smothers was hired to kill. The other three were bystanders.
He said: "I cannot emphasise strongly enough that Davontae Sanford was not involved in the September 17, 2007, murders... in any way.
"I had never met, spoken with, or even heard of Sanford or anyone connected to him. (He) is being wrongly incarcerated for a crime that I know he did not commit."
Lawyers for Sanford, who is illiterate and blind, filed a motion yesterday (April 15) asking for a new trial.
These lawyers also said that Sanford had falsely confessed and his legal representation back then was not good enough as he encouraged Sanford to accept the deal to plead guilty to the murders.
Smothers had actually tried to clear Sanfords' name before. Shortly after Sanford was convicted, Smothers was arrested in 2008 and confessed to the murders.
Yet, Smothers was charged in every murder he confessed to except the ones that Sanford was convicted for.
Smothers is now serving 50 to 100 years in prison.
Sanford is now represented by lawyers and law students from innocence clinics at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University.
Their new motion asks for his convictions to be overturned and a new trial held.
Ms Megan Crane, a lawyer with Northwestern's Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, said Sandford's lawyers have been unsuccessful in getting the prosecutor's office to accept that a mistake has been made.
"The real reason we are here today is because the Detroit criminal justice system can't handle the truth," said Crane.
"For far too long, the truth in this case has been hidden and suppressed by Detroit police and prosecutors. And the truth is that professional hit man Vincent Smothers committed the crime for which Davontae Sanford is doing the time," Crane added.
Sanford's mother: "I can't give up"
Sanford's mother Taminko Sanford-Tillman said she is hopeful about her son's case.
She said: "Yes, we do miss him. Yes, I do get weak. But I can't give up because... If we give up, he gives up.
"And we're not going to allow him, as a family, to give up."
Source: Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News