Facebook Post Helps Overturn Detroit Brothers' Murder Convictions
The Highers brothers may finally go free after a judge ordered a retrial in a murder case where the Detroit men were convicted 25 years ago.
Raymond and Thomas Highers were just 21 when they were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a drug dealer who was shot in his home. Then two years ago a high school classmate of theirs made a post on Facebook about the brothers. That started a chain reaction where other classmates got together to find evidence of their innocence.
Based on the testimony of new witnesses, Judge Lawrence Talon overturned the brothers' conviction on Thursday but the men are still not free.
Judge Talon delayed the decision of whether to let the men free on bond until he had additional information about their conduct while in prison, reports The Detroit News.
The conviction was overturned based on new evidence which effectively means that Judge Talon considers that the new evidence may contribute to a different decision at trial.
A retrial doesn't violate double jeopardy in this case since the brother's have not been acquitted and the case is still active. While the original trial may not have included all the evidence that does not mean the prosecution did not prove the elements.
What it does mean is a jury may get to hear the case with all the evidence present, which may influence their decision.
The new witnesses claim they were at the dealer's house on the night he was shot and saw two black men commit the crime. The Highers brothers are white. That testimony could create doubt that they were involved in the murder.
The prosecution has appealed Talon's decision to a higher court but the judge denied their request to halt the proceedings until the appeals court makes a decision.
Family members are just hoping to have the Highers brothers home soon. If released on bond the men can go free while they await a retrial.
- Highers brothers to remain in jail until hearing(ABC)
- Criminal Defense Lawyers (FindLaw)
- Man Detained 17 Years After Conviction Overturned Can't Sue (FindLaw's U.S. Sixth Circuit)