71 year old man cleared of murder case after spending 45 years in prison

Richard Phillips, a 71-year-old Detroit man has been released from prison after spending over 45 years in custody.

Phillips had been wrongfully accused of being involved in a fatal shooting in 1971. A judge granted the prosecutor’s request to permanently drop the case against Phillips, whose conviction was erased last year.

He had been free on bond since December. Wayne County prosecutor, Kym Worthy said a new investigation by her office backed his claim that he had no role in a 1971 fatal shooting. Worthy said a key witness lied at his 1972 trial. “There’s nothing I can say to bring back 40 years of his life,” Worthy said. “The system failed him. This is a true exoneration.” Phillips has spent more years behind bars than any wrongfully incarcerated person in the country, his lawyer Gabi Silver. She describes Phillips an “incredibly warm, engaging person” who just wants to pick up the pieces and live a quiet life.

Phillips told reporters that he has “never carried bitterness around, so I’m not a bitter man”, adding that one of his immediate goals was to reunite with his two children who were ages 2 and 4 when he went to prison in 1972.
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