LANSING, Mich. – Temujin Kensu, formally known as Fred Freeman, was recently denied clemency by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer -- a decision that forensic students in Ohio are questioning.
Dasha and Ella are students at Oakwood High School in Dayton Ohio, they are studying forensic science. Their latest assignment was to look into the case of Kensu. Kensu has been in prison for 34 years for the murder of a college student at St. Clair Community College in the 80s. Many believe Kensu is innocent.
“Anybody who reads it or hears about it, I feel, like, can agree that it’s pretty bizarre that he even would have been convicted in the first place,” Ella said.
The students are taking an entry-level forensics class in high school. They said looking at the evidence presented to the court when the case was tried -- they believe Kensu couldn’t have possibly committed the crime.
“Us, as teenagers, can look at the case and be like, ‘There’s no physical evidence to be able to connect him everything.’ But I think the most disappointing thing about the whole case is that it has been over 30 years,” Dasha said.
Their teacher, Melinda Wargacki, has had a hard time explaining why Kensu is still in prison.
“For him to spend 34 years behind bars. With absolutely nothing no fingerprints no DNA, no nothing. It’s just, they don’t understand. I mean, they do not get it at all. And it’s hard for me as a forensic science teacher to even explain it to them, because I don’t understand it myself,” Wargacki said.
Dasha, Ella and their classmates have been sending letters to Whitmer, pleading for her to reconsider Kensu’s request for clemency.
“They are hoping that she will see these letters and that they will mean something to her coming from a group of high school students -- not even in the state of Michigan, but in the state of Ohio,” Wargacki said.
Local 4 reached out to Governor Whitmer’s office to see why Kensu was denied clemency and get her reaction to the letters sent by students.