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Wrongfully convicted Black man freed after 40 years

Ledura Watkins, 61, freed from prison after 40 years (Photo source: Michigan Department of Corrections)

in 1976, a single strand of hair tied Ledura Watkins to the robbery and murder of a woman in Detroit. An FBI lab technician gave the evidence during his murder trial and at the age of 21, Watkins was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Now after 40 years in a Michigan prison, Watkins is a free man. Thanks to the Innocence Project of the Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School, it was proved that the conclusions made in the 1970s by FBI-trained lab analysts don’t match current scientific standards. As such, the law school requested of the courts that Watkins’ guilty verdict be set aside because of the faulty evidence in January 2017.

Prosecutors in Michigan agreed with the findings of the Innocence Project researchers and Watson was freed this past Thursday. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, Watkins was the longest serving wrongfully convicted person in Michigan’s history. Surrounded by family and well-wishers, Watkins exited the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit after one final court appearance. “I just want to thank everyone for everything that you’ve done, for all the support. I appreciate you, I love you, I don’t know how I’m ever going to repay you,” he said.

Throughout his incarceration, Watkins maintained that he was innocent of the crime.

Marla Mitchell-Cichon, director of the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project stated to the media, “Hair comparison is not based on science; it is simply a lab analyst’s subjective opinion and has no place in our criminal justice system. This is why a state-wide review of hair comparison cases is critical.”

Unfortunately, Watkins’ case has become all too familiar and the American judicial system. There have been other high-profile cases of wrongfully convicted Black men in the last few years. Some of these cases were covered by rolling out and include:

Eddie Bolden free after serving 22 years for wrongful conviction

Lawrence McKinney, Wrongfully convicted Black man only gets $75 after spending 31 years in prison

Andre Hatchett- Man with special needs free after 25 years of wrongful imprisonment



  1. SrAgri on June 16, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Your current title says “Wrongfully convicted Black man feed after 40 years”.

    I think you mean “Wrongfully convicted Black man FREED after 40 years”

    • Cruddy on June 16, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      No it doesnt dummy. it says “freed”

      • SrAgri on June 18, 2017 at 11:34 pm

        Of course it does 24 hours later, dummy.

        • Cruddy on June 19, 2017 at 1:01 am

          It said the same thing 24 hours earlier you dummy.

          • SrAgri on June 20, 2017 at 2:38 pm

            Yeah, immediately after I pointed out the typo. Get a life.

          • Cruddy on June 20, 2017 at 10:23 pm

            You tell me to get a life yet you claim to have pointed out a non existent typo? LOL!

            You just have a problem reading and now youre embarrassed I caught you.

  2. AND THEN THERE WAS ONE!!? on June 16, 2017 at 11:18 pm


  3. Oak510finest on June 17, 2017 at 2:29 am

    So white supremacy and racism dont exist. Yet you rarely if at all, here about whites being wrongly convicted and sentenced. Only to he freed decades later.

    • Lee on June 18, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      There is a problem with the legal system.

      Name a time, any time when “elite” criminals from HollyWood, government, or other agencies actually went to prison for any meaningful time for their crimes?

      Bill Clinton, Hillary, O.J, Possibly Cosby, too (60+ women is a lot. Can’t be all telling lies)…

      Justice system needs overhaul, you are right.
      Money buys freedom.

      • Oak510finest on June 18, 2017 at 2:35 pm

        @Lee The system only seems to be broke when black people are found not quilty criminally. Like Oj, they failed at framing him so they went after his money. They will do Cosby the same way.

        The Clinton’s will never see a courtroom for any of the crimes that they have been involved in. Let alone be attacked financially.

        • Lee on June 18, 2017 at 3:55 pm

          Elitism, bro.

          Rich people do not pay for crimes.
          White, black, yellow, or red.

          Only broke poor people pay for crimes.
          This is an alarming trend.

          Justice is not justice unless rich or poor, you have the same fate in store.
          If you do the crime, you do the time.

          Which, is obviously not happening.