Interview: Tracy Cowan spent nearly 20 years in Michigan prison. Now she’s pushing reform

Whitmer commuted Cowan’s sentence in 2021

A women who spent nearly 20 years in prison for gun and drug charges was released in January after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer commuted her sentence.

A women who spent nearly 20 years in prison for gun and drug charges was released in January after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer commuted her sentence.

Tracy Cowan had children with Maserati Rick, a 1980′s drug lord, one of the most notorious in Detroit, who was infamously killed in his hospital room. She served prison time after she started a relationship with a drug dealer in prison, which led to police finding drugs and guns in her home, and she was sentenced to more than 40 years in prison.

Cowan’s boyfriend only got 11 years, prompting calls for reform, as some women who become involved with criminals get longer prison sentences than their partners.

Richard Wershe Jr., known as White Boy Rick, was among those calling for her sentence to be commuted. Wershe was released from a Florida prison in July 2020, ending his 32 years behind bars that started after a drug trafficking arrest at 17 years old in 1987. He became the longest-serving nonviolent juvenile offender in Michigan history.

Watch Rhonda Walker’s interview with Cowan in the video player above.


About the Authors:

Rhonda Walker has been helping Detroiters get motivated and ready for the day for the past 22 years. A confessed morning person, this award winning talented and versatile journalist starts her day at 2:00 am to co-anchor the weekday morning newscast at WDIV-Local 4 News. A position she’s held since 2003.

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.