Detroit man home for holidays after wrongfully serving 26 years in prison

Larry Darnell Smith Jr. exonerated after review of case

A Detroit man is enjoying his first Thanksgiving as a free man in 26 years after being exonerated after being wrongfully convicted of murder in 1994.

DETROIT – A recently exonerated Detroit man says he is extra thankful this holiday season, as he’s finally home after wrongfully serving more than 25 years behind bars.

For Larry Darnell Smith Jr., being released from prison is a victory that was a long-time coming -- and for that, he’s thankful. The man served exactly 26 years, 10 months and seven days in prison, he says.

Smith, who is originally from Southwest Detroit, was convicted of murder in 1994. But, after a review of his case, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy determined that there was no conclusive evidence linking Smith to the murder scene. His charges were dismissed.

Now, Smith is spending his first Thanksgiving holiday at home and with family in a quarter of a century. This year, he’s visiting family in Boston -- including his mother, who says she is thrilled to have her son with her and free.

Smith says he feels his blessings to his core.

“It’s real,” he said. “We prayed and dreamed and hoped and asked for this.”

Now Smith and other men are part of the National Organization of Exonerees, and are working to help other men spending time in prison for crimes they say they did not commit.

A man originally from Southwest Detroit is finally home with family this Thanksgiving holiday after being exonerated following more than 25 years in prison.

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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.