Wayne County prosecutor dismisses homicide charges against man after 45 years in prison

Phillips convicted of killing Gregory Harris in 1971

Richard Phillips speaks to reporters after Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy dismissed homicide charges on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy held a press conference Wednesday and announced the dismissal of homicide charges against Richard Phillips.

Worthy was joined by Conviction Integrity Unit Director Valerie Newman and defense counsel for Phillips, David Moran and Gabi Silver.

Phillips, 71, was convicted in a fatal shooting and was released in December from a Metro Detroit prison after 45 years.

Phillips was sent to prison for the 1971 slaying of Gregory Harris, but has maintained his innocence.

“Miracles do happen,” he said.

Phillips and a co-defendant were convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy in 1972. The case was based on testimony of the victim’s brother-in-law. Phillips was sentenced to concurrent terms of life in prison.

Worthy says what happened to Phillips "was not justice at all." She says he was the victim of false testimony by a key witness at his 1972 trial.

“I was resigned to the fact that thought I was going to die in prison,” Phillips said.

In 2010, the co-defendant admitted he killed the victim with someone else and didn't even know Phillips at the time.

The University of Michigan Law School’s Michigan Innocence Clinic began working on the case in 2014.

“We were tipped off to the fact that Mr. Phillips’ co-defendant admitted he didn't even know him at the time,” David Moran, director of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, said. “When we met Mr. Phillips and the co-defendant we knew this was the case for us.”

Phillips said he’s grateful for those who helped him and does not harbor any animosity.

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