James Tolbert, the former Police Chief for the city of Flint, was forced to resign during the height of the Flint Water Crisis. But as it turns out, that was the least of his concerns. New information has come to light according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. They implicate Tolbert in the wrongful conviction of Davontae Sanford nine years ago.
Resignation not the end for former police chief
Sanford, a resident of Detroit, was convicted almost nine years ago for a quadruple homicide dubbed the “Runyon Street Murders.” He was sentenced to 37 to 90 years in jail as a result of his felony conviction. But according to the Wayne County, MI prosecutor, one of the pivotal pieces of evidence in the case was a diagram of the crime scene that Tolbert alleged in court that Sanford had drawn.
Now that the Sanford case is being reinvestigated, there are major discrepancies coming to light. First of which is the fact that Tolbert is alleged to have contradicted his own testimony and claimed instead that he himself had drawn the diagram. This allegation has been confirmed by both Tolbert’s attorney and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in Detroit.
This information, added to the fact that two weeks after Sanford’s conviction, a hitman came forward and confessed to the murders, has unravelled the entire case. The hit man, Vincent Smothers, claims that he and an accomplice shot Mike Robinson and three bystanders who were present at the time.
Hit man comes forward with the truth?
In a signed affidavit provided by Smothers, he said “I cannot emphasize strongly enough that Davontae Sanford was not involved in the September 17, 2007, murders at 19741 Runyon Street in any way. I had never met, spoken with, or even heard of Davontae Sanford or anyone connected to him. Davontae Sanford is being wrongly incarcerated for a crime that I know he did not commit.”
Sanford was 14-years-old at the time of the murders, and 15 when he was wrongfully convicted. He was finally released last week at the age of 23. In addition, a felony perjury warrant is currently under review for Tolbert. He is suspected of having a hand in putting an innocent teen behind bars for a crime he did not commit.
Tolbert, who had been Detroit’s Deputy Police Chief at the time of the Sanford trial and conviction, is not currently facing any charges, but that could change at any time. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is still reviewing the evidence and deciding whether or not to bring charges. In the event that Tolbert is charged with perjury, he could face years in prison. The criminal defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have represented hundreds of criminal defendants since the 1990s. Our team has successfully prevented the wrongful imprisonment of many Michiganians. We can be reached all day, every day at 1 866-766-5245.