ROYAL OAK, Mich. – "White Boy" Rick Wershe's sister has been by his side his entire life, and she spoke with Local 4 about her 30-year battle to get him out of prison.
As the older sister, it was Dawn Wershe's job to keep an eye on her brother. She said she saw him turn from a child who loved baseball to a teenager hanging around the wrong crowd.
At age 15, Rick Wershe was shot by a drug dealer who suspected him of being a police snitch.
"On the way to the hospital, the ambulance driver told Rick, 'You're going to die,'" Dawn Wershe said. "I guess so he could say his last, whatever, prayer to whoever you want to pray to. They had to put inner tubes around his body to stop the blood from coming out. The gunshot went in the front, came out the back and missed the main artery by a sliver -- so close. They couldn't believe the odds. They didn't think he was going to make it."
FULL COVERAGE: The story of 'White Boy' Rick
Dawn Wershe cared for her brother and hoped he would make better choices. She said he was addicted to the money police paid him to snitch, and when they stopped paying, he started selling drugs to keep the money rolling in.
"I believe the money -- the drug dealing -- I believe it is like a sickness," Dawn Wershe said. "The more you get, the more you want. It's like someone, I guess, who has a gambling addiction. They win a jackpot, but it's not enough. They need a bigger one. They need more. They got a Mercedes. They need a bigger Mercedes."
Dawn Wershe said she understands why her brother went to prison, but she can't understand why he is still there 31 years later with only two nonviolent crimes on his record.
"This is ridiculous," Dawn Wershe said. "Why is he still there? Why? What reason? They have murderers and rapists that are out, and he's still there."
She said people who know her brother know he's not a drug kingpin. She said he's a good man who made mistakes a long time ago.
"He's got that heart," Dawn Wershe said. "He's got it in his heart. He's got a good heart, good intentions."
Now, the Wershe family is in a major motion picture for the whole country to see. Dawn Wershe is worried about how the family will be portrayed on the big screen.
"It looks interesting, but it's far from the truth," Dawn Wershe said. "My dad never worked at Chrysler. There's things that I've seen in the trailer I'm not happy about. We'll see what happens."
To download the full "White Boy" Rick podcast, all episodes are available right now on iTunes. Just search for "White Boy Rick" on any podcast app.