DETROIT – The 10-member Michigan parole board voted unanimously to release "White Boy" Rick Wershe from prison after he spent nearly 30 years behind bars.
Wershe is the state's longest-service nonviolent juvenile defender. The earliest he can be released is mid-August.
Wershe needed six of the 10 parole board members to vote in his favor, but Local 4 has learned the vote was unanimous.
Wershe said he was going through sleepless nights leading up to Friday's decision.
"Without the family and the outside support I have, I don't know if I would be the person I am today," Wershe said. "I mean, they keep me up. They keep me going. They keep hope alive. They give me faith that things are going to turn out alright, and I just have to take it day by day."
He's received support from thousands of strangers who believe his incarceration is cruel and unjust.
Wershe has prison sentence to serve in Florida
Despite his release from prison in Michigan, Wershe might still have to serve prison time in Florida for a crime he committed while behind bars.
He has been described as a model prisoner during his time behind bars, with one major exception. He pleaded guilty 11 years ago to racketeering and conspiracy to move stolen cars in Florida. He was sentenced to five years to be served after his release in Michigan.
Wershe still owes 22 months to the state of Florida after credit for his time served, but his attorney Ralp Musilli is going to ask Florida officials to change the sentence to concurrent instead of consecutive, which would mean his time in Michigan prison would count for the time owed in Florida.
Musilli is trying to have the crime forgiven, since Wershe has spent more than 29 years in prison for drugs and car theft. Musilli said Wershe should have been out several years ago, but unless he can convince Florida lawmakers to give his client a break, a Florida prison will be Wershe's next stop.