Cleveland 19 News: Jury reaches not guilty verdict in retrial for 2 who were wrongfully convicted for Cleveland shooting
Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati worked to help Michael Sutton clear his name
It’s been a long journey to freedom for Ohio Innocence Project client Michael Sutton and his co-defendant, Kenny Phillips.
Back in 2006, they were arrested and eventually convicted on multiple charges including attempted murder of a police officer stemming from a case in the city of Cleveland’s east side. Sutton was sentenced to more than 40 years in prison.
This week both were found not guilty of all charges by a jury in a retrial, which began Sept. 20 in front of Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge John O’Donnell. Sutton and Phillips spent 15 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.
In April 2021, the Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals granted both Sutton and Phillips the right to a new trial, citing lack of evidence. They have been out on bond since they were released from prison in May 2021.
And now they won’t have to go back. The ruling was reported by Cleveland 19 News.
Donald Caster, a professor in the UC College of Law, led a team of Ohio Innocence Project attorneys who initially re-examined the case involving Sutton. Phillips has been represented by the Wrongful Conviction Project (WCP) at the Ohio Public Defender Commission.
Sutton’s conviction rested on testimony from two police officers on the scene.Years later, this testimony has been called into question after lawyers discovered the officers initially told prosecutors a different version of events that was never presented during trial.
The work of the Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati has led to the freedom of 36 Ohioans who lost over 700 years of their lives to prison for crimes they did not commit. Freedom for Sutton and Phillips comes as OIP joins others recognizing Wrongful Conviction Day, set for Sunday, Oct. 2.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.