A watched pot never boils

Bond hearing will determine is Highers brothers will walk free after 25 years in prison

By Paula Tutman - Reporter

DETROIT - Even after spending 25 years in prison, for a murder they possibly did not commit, these last three weeks have to have been the hardest stretch of time, yet.

That's because Raymond and Thomas Highers have been waiting to see if they'll hear the sound of their shoes on free concrete. 

The brothers were sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, for the 1987 murder of 65-year-old, Robert Karey.  It was an apparent drug hit and the brothers had been known to frequent that drug house.

But they say they weren't there that night and it wasn't until a chance Facebook conversation between classmates that a new witness surfaced who claimed it wasn't the Highers brothers who executed the hit.

What took so long? 

Keep in mind, 25 years ago we didn't have instant access to information. If we needed a phone number we had to look it up in a phone book. If we needed background on history, we had to find an encyclopedia.  And if we wanted to make a phone call, we either had to go home or find a pay phone.  These two brothers went to jail for murder and many of their own neighbors and classmates had no idea.

Two weeks ago, Judge Lawrence Talon ruled that had that previously unknown witness testified at the original trial, the outcome may very likely have been different. And so the judge ordered a new trial. But the fight to free the Thomas and Raymond Highers has been a long, drawn out affair.

Today it's possible they'll be freed on bond. 

Pre-trialil services is recommending a 100-thousand dollar bond/ 10 % on each brother.  Which means that if the judge goes with the recommendation, the family of Tommy and Raymond will have to come up with 20-thousand dollars in cash to get them out.  Janet Hirth, the brothers' aunt says she's already made arrangements with a bank. 

Pre-sentence services also recommends each man be fitted for a tether. If that's the case, their release will take another two or three days because they'll have to be transferred to another facility, get on a waiting list to get fitted and then they'll walk.

What's happening now is more testimony from witnesses. The prosecution is trying to keep the men in jail, pending a new trial. But defense attorneys are fighting for their release. Today, we'll hear phone testimony from Carol Howes, the retired warden at Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, who apparently believes the two men are innocent and should be released. 

Also testifying for the defense will be a psychologist, Dr. Lyle Danuloff, who is expected to say he's examined both men and they are not a danger to society or themselves, according to defense attorney, Valerie Newman of the State Appellate Defender Office in Detroit.

"This is the story, of a 21 and 22 year old kid, who are re -entering the world 25 years different from the world they left, they might as well be on another plant," said Danuloff during testimony to examine the brother's ability to assimilate back into society if released.

Stay tuned.  Nothing in this court has gone quickly or as expected.

But you can believe that much liked waiting for water to boil, this feels like forever - for two men who've already spent more than half their lives in prison for a crime they insist they had no part in.

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