Murder Charges Dismissed for Two Brothers After 26 Years

What would be the first thing you would with your new found freedom?

For the first time in 26 years, two Michigan brothers can look hopeful at their future after a judge dismissed their case last week. Both men walked out of the courtroom excited to move on with their lives.

26 Years For A Crime They Did Not Commit

Twenty-six years ago, Thomas Highers, now 48-years-old and his brother, Raymond Highers, now 47-years-old, were convicted of a crime they did not commit. In 1987, 65-year-old Detroit drug dealer, Robert Karey, was murdered at his home near City Airport in Detroit, and the brothers were charged and convicted for the crime. 26 years later, new evidence was presented that allowed for a second trial.

New Evidence Spawned by Social Media

In 2009, Mary Evans got the ball rolling with a post on Facebook. According to the as reported by the Huffington Post, Kevin Zieleniewski, a former Detroit resident happened on Evan’s Facebook post. He contacted a former law school friend and told him that he had been at the murder victim’s house on the night of the murder and that Karey had been killed by black men.

Conviction Thrown Out – Murder Charges Dismissed

In light of the new evidence, Detroit Circuit Judge Lawrence Talon formally dismissed the 1988 murder convictions in July 2012. A new trial was ordered.

The Prosecution

The prosecution felt that they could no long move forward with the trial. While the prosecution reports that they still feel the brothers are guilty and that they did nothing wrong, they felt that could not go to trial. Some of the reason why are,

  • Too much time has passed
  • Some of the witnesses have died
  • The memory of some of the witnesses are no longer reliable
  • Physical evidence and files are missing

The Defense

The defense claims that the primary witnesses are still alive and well and new witnesses that came forward reporting that the men who killed Robert Karey were black. The Highers brothers are white. That evidence alone is what got the case moving.

One of the brothers talked marriage as he looked into his future. The other talked about how now there were new opportunities available to him. We wish both of the brothers the best of luck on their new found freedom. The Detroit Free Press had them quoted as saying,

It is a tremendous relief,” said Thomas Highers, 48.

We have to move forward with life, and that’s what we’re trying to do now,” said Raymond Highers, 47. “In my eyes, it’s over. The truth spoke — that’s why we’re here.”

Your Turn
What are your thoughts about this case? Do you think that social media was an important piece to the puzzle?