Two Detroit brothers who have served 25 years of a life sentence for a murder they say they didn't commit, will get a new trial, all because of a post on Facebook.
The Detroit Free Press says Raymond and Thomas Highers were sentenced to life in prison for the shotgun murder of 65-year old Robert Karey back in 1988.
Fox News reports a Facebook post written in 2009 by a friend from high school got the ball rolling and got the case reopened. Mary Evans says, "[All] I said was it's too bad or it's sad that the Highers brothers are in prison for life, and that there just started this domino effect." Several new witnesses came forward and WXYZ says the witnesses who saw the Facebook post claim didn't know the Highers brothers were serving time for the killing and gave new descriptions of the murder suspects. The witnesses, all high school students at the time, say they had gone to Karey's house to buy marijuana on that fateful night back in 1987.
Fox News reports that four new witnesses testified at a hearing in March. Two say they had gone to the back door of Karey's home to buy drugs but ran into several armed black men who rushed into the backyard and told them to get out. One of the witnesses says he heard a gunshot as they ran to their car. The testimony is important because the Highers brothers are white.
The brothers' lawyers say none of the witnesses came forward before because they were "just kids" at the time who hadn't yet developed "a moral compass."
The Detroit Free Press says last Thursday Wayne County Circuit Judge Lawrence Talon announced, "The court finds the newly discovered evidence to be credible and reliable." He says the new witnesses offered enough new evidence to throw out of the 1988 verdict and sentence, adding that he doesn't buy the arguments of the prosecution, who claim the new witnesses are too inconsistent, unreliable and untrustworthy. And he dismissed any suggestions that they had made up the story to free the brothers.
The pair, now in their mid-forties had hoped to be released from prison this week but the prosecution has asked that they remain in custody pending an appeal of the judge's decision. The judge has set a bail hearing for August 13.