AG Nessel Announces Two Vacated Wrongful Convictions in Oakland County
Category: Wrongful Convictions
More Info: Personal Injury Loans
The Oakland County convictions of George DeJesus and Melvin DeJesus have been vacated after a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s (DAG) Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, the Cooley Law School Innocence Project and the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic.
The brothers were wrongfully convicted of murder and felony firearms in 1997. New evidence discovered during the CIU’s investigation exonerates them after nearly 25 years in prison.
Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Martha D. Anderson set aside the convictions Tuesday morning during a hearing held via Zoom.
The DeJesus cases mark the third and fourth wrongful convictions overturned through the CIU’s efforts. Previously, Gilbert Poole, Jr. and Corey McCall were exonerated.
After DAG’s CIU launched, the Cooley Innocence Project and Michigan Innocence Clinic asked the unit to conduct DNA testing and review both the brothers’ claims of innocence. Following its own thorough investigation, the CIU moved to have George and Melvin’s convictions vacated and requested dismissal of all charges.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office collaborated with the CIU to provide essential information. They also assisted in the submission of evidence for DNA testing.
“I appreciate the tireless work the unit put in to secure these exonerations for the DeJesus brothers,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “This day is another source of great pride for our Conviction Integrity Unit, which was established in 2019 to ensure those convicted of state crimes are in fact guilty. I look forward to our continued collaboration with the Cooley Innocence Project and University of Michigan Innocence Clinic in our collective pursuit of providing justice to those wrongfully imprisoned.”
On July 11, 1995, a woman’s body was found in her home in Pontiac, Michigan. She was found nude in her basement with a pillowcase over her head and wires binding her neck, wrists, and ankles.
Brandon Gohagen was linked to the crime scene through DNA and eventually confessed to sexually assaulting the victim. Gohagen claimed that Melvin forced Gohagen to sexually assault the victim and then both Melvin and George bound the victim and beat her to death.
Ultimately, Gohagen received a deal and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree criminal sexual misconduct in exchange for his testimony against George and Melvin.
At trial, George and Melvin presented alibi defenses that they were all at a party on Saturday night, the night Gohagen said the crime occurred. George, Melvin, and Gohagen went their separate ways after the party. However, both alibi witnesses were scrutinized as they were inconsistent as to whether the party was on Friday or Saturday. George and Melvin were ultimately convicted by a jury in 1997 and sentenced to serve life without parole in the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) on Dec. 30, 1997.
In 2017, Gohagen was convicted of the 1994 sexual assault and murder of another woman in Oakland County. Gohagen acted alone in that crime. In addition to the 1995 and the 1994 cases, the CIU discovered 12 other women who were emotionally, physically, and sexually abused by Gohagen. The CIU also found other evidence that impeached Gohagen’s credibility, and the CIU spoke to a witness who said that Gohagen confessed to implicating the brothers in exchange for a deal.
Additionally, the CIU spoke to numerous witnesses and reviewed decades of documents. The CIU located witness statements made within weeks of the crime that corroborated the brothers’ alibis the night of the 1995 murder.
“We are happy that George DeJesus can say he has been fully exonerated after nearly a 25-year struggle to prove his innocence,” Tracey Brame, the director of the Cooley Innocence Project, said. “George has steadfastly maintained that he had nothing to do with this terrible crime. We are grateful to Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Conviction Integrity Unit team for their willingness to listen to the brothers and reinvestigate the case. Today, George and his brother, Melvin, have finally received justice.”
“We are thrilled to learn that our client, Melvin DeJesus, and his brother, George, will be fully exonerated, some 27 years after the true killer framed the brothers for this heinous crime.” Dave Moran, co-director of the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic, said. “We thank the Attorney General’s Conviction Integrity Unit for their thorough reinvestigation of this case, which led them to reach the same conclusion that we did: the brothers are completely innocent. And we thank the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office for agreeing to this result. We will now focus on helping Melvin DeJesus adjust to his freedom and move on with his life.”
More wrongful conviction information you may be interested in:
- Exec who launched stars like Katy Perry and Kid Rock is now helping free the innocent
- Majority of New Yorkers support package of bills to end wrongful convictions
- ‘Wrongful Conviction with Maggie Freleng’ Launches Today
- As more wrongful convictions unravel, exonerees help one another adjust to life beyond bars
- Florida man exonerated after serving 32 years for wrongful murder conviction
- Why Is It So Hard to Rid the Courts of Junk Science?
- For 43 years in prison, sports was a guiding light for exonerated Kevin Strickland
- Final batch of convictions tied to convicted former CPD Sgt. Ronald Watts tossed out
- Why compensation for those wrongfully convicted in Wisconsin must be increased
- Wrongful Convictions
- Wrongfully convicted man relishes freedom after 32 years behind bars
- Michael Politte released from prison – attorneys blame bad science for wrongful conviction
- Albert Wilson files wrongful conviction lawsuit 4 months after rape case is dismissed
- AG Nessel Announces Two Vacated Wrongful Convictions in Oakland County
- Detroit reaches $7.5M deal in Davontae Sanford wrongful conviction lawsuit
- More than 2,800 have been wrongly convicted in the US. Lawmakers want to make sure they’re paid their dues.
- How many innocent people are in U.S. prisons, and why can’t we find them?
- Brothers wrongfully convicted of murder awarded $75 million after each serving 31 years in prison
- Wrongful Incarceration: Which States Will Pay?
- Michigan needs $7M to pay wrongfully convicted, avoid going into debt
- Wrongful Convictions And The Equal Justice Initiative
See the original article here: https://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,4534,7-359-92297_47203-578931--,00.html
About TriMark Legal Funding
TriMark Legal Funding was founded in 2003 and is one of America's leading national lawsuit funding companies. TriMark provides pre-settlement funding and post-settlement funding, sometimes called 'lawsuit loans', to injured plaintiffs throughout the United States. We offer funding on hundreds of different types of legal claims including personal injury loans, employment litigation funding, work injury accident loans, workers compensation loans, mass tort litigation funding, and multidistrict litigation funding.
We also provide immediate inheritance advance funding for heirs and beneficiaries, as well as attorney funding and law firm financing for legal practices.
|Personal Injury Lawsuits||Mass Torts|
Click here to see the original article.