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PI Helps Four More Exonerees!

PI Meets with Four Exonerees

In 2009, four men from Burton, Michigan were convicted of murder. Finally, after years of legal wrangling, all four defendants were released on bond in September 2022 with their cases dismissed on December 22, 2022. These men are Kino Christian, C’Quan Hinton, Dartanion Edwards and Joshun Edwards; Kino is the uncle of C’Quan and Dartanion and Joshun, brothers, are friends of C’Quan.


In January 2023, Bill Branham and I met with all four exonerees in C’Quan Hinton’s home. C’Quan had gathered all four men so that we could meet with them at one time. All four men were gracious in answering questions about their cases and exonerations. They shared their frustration that there was much publicity at the time they were arrested but there was no publicity when they were exonerated. We were very impressed with how each of the men described, in a very calm manner without bitterness, their thoughts on where mistakes were made leading to their convictions. When we shared thoughts on future Proving Innocence initiatives, Kino expressed interest in working with us to identify opportunities to heighten awareness of issues with wrongful conviction at every level of the criminal justice system.


Kim with (L-R) Kino, C'Quan, Dartanion and Joshun

Re-entering society cannot be easy after 13 years in prison, but these men are determined to get on with their lives. Kino is a paralegal for The National Appeals Clinic (and has mastered legal jargon!), Dartanion works for Amazon, and C-Quan and Joshun are seeking work.


During our visit, we provided Walking Free Funds to each of the men, for which they were very appreciative. Christian, Joshun Edwards, and Hinton each received $1,000; Dartanion Edwards received $750, less than the other three because he was represented by the Michigan Innocence Clinic and will qualify for $2,000 from the Innocence Network's Edmondson Walking Fund. We also provided information on additional resources to help them with post-exoneration life. We appreciate these men taking their time on a rainy winter night to share their experiences with us; by continuing to meet with exonerees and hear their stories, we will be able to identify opportunities for Proving Innocence to make the greatest impact.

 
While $750-$1,000 per exoneree will not provide a lot of assistance to help each individual re-establish themselves in society, it is a start. Through the generous donations of individuals, Proving Innocence is able to provide funds to Michigan exonerees. Learn more about the exonerees that have been helped by Proving Innocence here: Proving Innocence Exonerees Helped.

Please consider making a donation today to support Proving Innocence’s efforts to help Michigan exonerees. Please find the “Donate” link at the top of the page:
 

Want to learn more about the exonerees’ case? Keep reading….

Shortly after 8 p.m. on October 9, 2007, 14-year-old Robert Person III was shot to death in front of the Evergreen Regency Apartments at the corner of South Averill Avenue and Lippincott Boulevard in Burton, Michigan, a suburb of Flint.


Three days later, on October 16, 2007, 15-year-old Jarylle Murphy showed up at the police station, claiming he had witnessed Person’s murder. He was interviewed by Flint police Sgt. Lee Ann Gaspar, who tape-recorded the interview.


Murphy was shown a photographic lineup and identified 17-year-old C’Quan Hinton as one of the gunmen. Murphy viewed three more photographic lineups. He identified Christian as one of the gunmen; he also identified 19-year-old Dartanion Edwards and Edwards’s 27-year-old brother, Joshun Edwards, as the other two gunmen.


In November 2007, Christian, Hinton, and Dartanion and Joshun Edwards were arrested. They were charged with first-degree murder, assault with intent to commit murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and illegal possession of a firearm.


On February 17, 2009, the jury convicted all four defendants of first-degree murder, assault with intent to commit murder, commission of a felony with a firearm and illegal possession of a weapon. Each was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Hinton was subsequently resentenced to 32 years to 60 years in prison after the U.S. Supreme Court barred life without parole sentences for juveniles


In 2014, Joshun Edward’s family filed a request under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act seeking documents in the case. Among the documents they received was a transcript of the first interview with Murphy. This transcript had not been provided to the defense prior to the trial—only a police summary of it had been turned over.


Christian, Hinton, and Joshun Edwards subsequently filed a motion for relief from judgment, arguing that the prosecution’s suppression of the transcript had rendered their trial unfair. The transcript, they contended, contained numerous statements that were inconsistent with Murphy’s testimony. The statements, they argued, could have been used to impeach Murphy’s testimony.


The motions were denied by the trial court. In October 2020, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the denial. The appeals court agreed that the prosecution should have disclosed the transcript but ruled that even if the defense lawyers had it, the defendants still would have been convicted.


In July 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the appeals court, vacated the convictions of Christian, Joshun Edwards, and Hinton, and ordered a new trial.


After the ruling, the Michigan Innocence Clinic was appointed to represent Dartanion Edwards. Based on the ruling, Dartanion’s convictions were vacated as well.

All four defendants were released on bond in September 2022. On December 22, 2022, the prosecution dismissed the cases against all four men.

Collectively, these four men lost nearly 60 years to their wrongful convictions due to false witness testimony, inaccurate use of DNA data, inconclusive findings about the gun used in the killing, a withheld transcript of a police interview of an alleged witness, and use of jailhouse informant testimony about Christian’s alleged confession.


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