After years of setbacks in court, DeShawn Reed and his uncle Marvin Reed will learn within the next few weeks whether they will be given a new chance to argue their innocence of attempted murder charges.
Following sporadic evidentiary hearings during the last month, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Fresard has promised a written opinion within about two weeks on the motion from the Reeds to set aside their 2001 convictions.
Since the Reeds were sentenced to spend 20 years in prison, two judges and the Michigan Court of Appeals have denied the Reeds' efforts to win a new trial. But, as their attorney pointed out, Fresard has much more evidence to work with than those other judges did.
Nearly eight years ago, Fresard's colleague on the Wayne County bench, Judge Michael Hathaway, convicted the Reeds of attempted murder in the March 2000 shooting of Shannon Gholston, who was left a quadriplegic after a bullet hit him in the back of the neck as he drove through his Ecorse neighborhood.
The biggest — but not only — part of the Reeds' case is Gholston's new testimony that he didn't see who shot him. The recantation, which only recently came while Gholston was under oath, hadn't been part of earlier appeals. The Reeds' attorneys argue it's newly discovered evidence and constitutes grounds for overturning the convictions. Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Caroline Breen disagrees, saying he hasn't recanted, just repeatedly changed his story.
Gholston told a private investigator for the Reeds in 2005 that he didn't see who shot him. Then, months later, he told a Wayne County Prosecutor's investigator that it was the Reeds. But Gholston made that statement at his home in front of family members and wasn't under oath. As part of the evidentiary hearings, Gholston testified in court that he didn't see who shot him.
Sure sounds like a recantation to us.
In addition, as part of the evidentiary hearings during the last several weeks, Detroit Police Officer Robert Thomas, testifying for the first time, said he met his friend Gholston at the hospital before Ecorse police were there. Thomas wasn't called to testify at trial and never volunteered what he knew: Gholston first said at the hospital that he didn't see who shot him. The Reeds added that as another factor for deserving a new trial.
"This court has a lot more information to work with than either of the courts before it did," the Reeds' attorney Bridget McCormack told Judge Fresard during the closing arguments of the evidentiary hearing last week. "The question for you is an easy one: All you have to decide is, is it reasonably likely that if a trial was held next week that these men would be acquitted?'"News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]rotimes.com