Westland man says he was charged for an armed robbery he didn’t commit

‘They were going to take my life from me,’ James Herrara said

James Herrara said he was facing life in prison for a crime he did not commit.

WESTLAND, Mich. – James Herrara said he was facing life in prison for a crime he did not commit.

“They were going to take my life from me, all I could think of was my kids going to suffer,” Herrara said.

Westland police brought armed robbery charges against Herrara. The Wayne County Prosecutor approved the charges and he was facing life in prison.

Herrara insists that he did not rob anyone. After Westland police arrested him he lost his job, was evicted from his home and his little girl was terrified when she saw police.

“She sees the police ... ‘Daddy, go hide, they are going to take you from me,’” Herrara said.

Westland police Sgt. Kameron Sleep interviewed a victim who said he never saw the men that robbed him but did hear one of the men use a nickname that started with the letter “T.”

The detective knew Herrara, known as “Tex," the victim also knew Herrara. Police said the victim ID’d Herrara as the robber -- but under oath -- the victim said he was not implicating him at all.

“He knew enough to say he knew ‘Tex’ and his voice and the robber was not him. Under oath, alibi, passed a polygraph, and the victim said it wasn’t him. How much more do you need?” Herrara’s defense attorney Greg Rohl said.

The case made it all the way to circuit court, where the victim said that Herrara was not the robber. The judge dismissed the case.

Westland police said the charges were dropped because the victim got his money back and no longer wanted to pursue the case. Herrara and his lawyer strong dispute that.

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Westland police released the following statement:

On July 5th 2020 a victim came to the Westland Police Dept. to report an armed robbery that was committed against him.

The victim reported that he was walking out of the Supermarket when he was approached by what he described as a light complexed B/M who was bald, had gold teeth and was 5′10″ and 180 lbs., wearing a white tank top and blue pants. Victim stated this subject produced a small black handgun and stated “give me the money”. Victim stated he then handed this subject his wallet which contained money. Victim identified a man named “Tex” as the robber.

This case was assigned to Sgt. Sleep. Based on the name and physical description given by the Victim, Sgt. Sleep was the only “Tex” he knew of in Westland’s Nor Wayne area, based on his 13 years of working at the Westland Police Dept. Sgt. Sleep called the Victim and asked if he would be able to identify the subject again. Victim stated yes. Sgt. Sleep then prepared a 6 person photo array which contained a picture of James Herrera and five other random subjects who also fit the physical description. The Victim identified out Herrera’s photo and identified him as the person who “robbed me”.

The case was presented to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for review. On July 7th 2020 Wayne County Prosecutor filed a felony warrant for charges against Herrera- Armed Robbery with a habitual offender 4th notice.

On August 8th the preliminary exam was held in the 18th District Court. This case was bound over for trial at the preliminary exam and sent to the 3rd Circuit Court for adjudication.

The Case was later dismissed in Wayne County Circuit Court because the victim stated that about a week prior he had received his money back from the unidentified male who was with Herrera during the robbery. The Victim stated that because he received his money back he no longer wished to prosecute.

Court documents are available below:

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.