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Murder Charges Dropped Against 2 Men In Boyhood Memory Case

November 29, 2018 - 8:43 am

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Prosecutors are dropping murder charges against two Detroit men who were granted a new trial based on the boyhood memory of a man who witnessed his mother's slaying in 1999.

Justly Johnson and Kendrick Scott have been in prison or jail for nearly 20 years. The Wayne County Prosecutor's office said Wednesday it's dropping all charges because the key witness in the case said they didn't do it.

Lisa Kindred was shot in a van on Mother's Day in 1999. Her son, Charmous Skinner Jr., was 8-years-old and also in the vehicle. He didn't testify at trial and was never interviewed by police.

At an evidentiary hearing after the defendants were convicted, Skinner testified that Johnson and Scott were not responsible for his mother’s death. His description of the shooter is vastly different to the details offered at trial.

The Michigan Supreme Court ordered a new trial earlier this year, saying the convictions of Johnson and Scott "were based on shaky grounds," but prosecutors say they don't have enough evidence.  

Scott described his release as "awesome." He says it's a "tragedy" that the men were locked up for so long.

The case was reopened after a TV-reporter-turned-private-investigator, Scott Lewis, found Skinner in 2011 and interviewed him about his mother's death. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.