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Listen: Davontae Sanford's mother discusses conviction, plea deal on BBC

Relatives of Devontae Sanford advocate for his release in 2015.
Kate Wells
/
Michigan Radio
Relatives of Devontae Sanford advocate for his release in 2015.

Davontae Sanford is 23 years old, but he hasn't known freedom since age 14. For the last nine years, Sanford has served time in prison for four murders he didn't commit.

Shortly into Sanford's prison sentence, a hit man who had been arrested for other killings in Detroit had insisted Sanford couldn't possibly have committed the crimes. Vincent Smothers' reasoning was simple -- he was the one who carried out the murders.

Despite Smothers' claims, it took eight years for the court system to finally declare Sanford innocent.

Wednesday, a Wayne County circuit judge ordered Sanford released immediately, allowing him to return to his home in Detroit. 

Sanford's mother, Taminko, said in an interview with the BBC that the family accepted a plea deal on the advice of a lawyer, going against her son's objections.

"At the time of the conviction, I was uneducated," she said. "I wasn't aware of the system, I wasn't aware of the injustice that's in the system."

Listen to the full clip below:

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