A Detroit man who was serving a long prison sentence instead prepared to walk free Monday, after a post-conviction investigation cleared him in a 2012 shooting.
Marwin McHenry was convicted of shooting a young woman during a street fight that summer.
McHenry said he was blocks away at the time, and pointed the finger at another man, James Bosley.
Initially, so did the victim. But she and other eyewitnesses later identified McHenry as the shooter.
A jury convicted McHenry of assault with intent to murder and other charges, and a judge sentenced him to up to 30 years in prison. That’s despite Bosley’s own sister testifying at trial that her brother was the shooter.
McHenry appealed his conviction. Both the Wayne County Circuit Court and Michigan Court of Appeals denied his request for a new trial, and in 2016 the Michigan Supreme Court declined to take the case.
But in 2014, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office had begun re-investigating McHenry's case. One of Bosley’s other sisters told investigators her brother had confessed to her and other family members. Another man reported that Bosley had also confessed to him.
Several eyewitnesses then recanted their initial testimony, naming Bosley as the shooter. Finally, in October 2016, Bosley “voluntarily came to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office” and directly confessed to investigators.
Based on this new evidence, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office and McHenry’s defense team petitioned the court to vacate his convictions. Judge Gregory Bill, who presided over McHenry’s trial and initial appeal, signed an order doing that Monday.
Prosecutor Kym Worthy says that based on the investigation's findings, she determined that “Mr. McHenry’s case should be resolved without the need for an evidentiary hearing.”
While still officially ongoing, “it is not in the interests of justice to wait for the conclusion of that investigation to grant Mr. McHenry relief,” Worthy said in a statement.
A team from the University of Michigan’s Innocence Clinic joined McHenry’s defense team during the appeals process.
Worthy’s office has recently been the target of growing criticism for refusing to back off a slew of high-profile convictions—even when new or re-examined evidence strongly suggested the wrong person was convicted. The Innocence Clinic has been involved in a number of those cases.
But in this case, Innocence Clinic director David Moran said a “very cooperative process between us and the prosecutor’s office” emerged, as the investigation turned up more evidence against Bosley and courts refused to grant McHenry a new trial.
“I have nothing but praise for them for going back and looking at an old case, and coming to a different conclusion,” Moran said.