Man convicted in fatal Royal Oak Township fire released after 15 years over ‘compromised’ investigation

Investigation found reported misconduct by police, prosecutors

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald told Judge Jeffery Matis that Deering didn’t receive due process.

PONTIAC, Mich.Juwan Deering walked out of court a free man Thursday morning, where he had an emotional reunion with his family and friends.

A judge agreed to close the case against Deering, who spent 15 years behind bars for a fire that killed five children. Deering, 50, will not face a second trial. The decision was made after prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to tie him to the crime and that the investigation was compromised by misconduct.

Deering entered the Pontiac courthouse shackled at the waist and within 10 minutes, he walked out a free man with no restraints.

In 2006, a jury convicted Deering of murder in connection with a house fire in Royal Oak Township that killed five children.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald told Judge Jeffery Matis that Deering didn’t receive due process because evidence was withheld during the trial and that three jail informants who testified against Deering allegedly asked for favors from prosecutors who were on the case before McDonald.

Related: Prosecutor wants murder conviction dropped in 2000 Oakland County fire that killed 5 kids

She said she had to correct the wrongful conviction.

“I know for certain that he did not receive a fair trial,” McDonald said. “The judge agreed and I know, certainly, the only ethical and moral and constitutional result here is he be released and his conviction be vacated.”

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About the Authors:

Larry Spruill Jr. joined the Local 4 News team in January 2018. Prior, he worked at WJAX in Jacksonville, Florida. Larry grew up as a military kid because his father is a retired Chief of the United States Air Force.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.