Abuse of Youth In the age of Politically corect you would imagine a child would be one of the most protected of our most vulnerable members of Society. Organisations have grown in strength protecting the abused, the neglected and the at risk, how is it then a child has escaped the radar of such organisations for far too long? Davontae Sanford was 14 yrs old the night a hitman engaged in his next contract killing, just streets away from his home. In the midst of a murder enquiry, the intensity that was surrounding Runyard Street Davontae Sanford was transfixed. In his eagerness to please he stepped forward, telling an elaborate story regarding the killings and in his childlike mind could never of imagined he was now the prime suspect. Children have extreme difficulty in differentiating between reality in their own mind and external reality. When a teenager with learning difficulties displays these childlike qualities it can be interpreted as truth, we assume they are old enough to know the difference between fact and fiction, Davontae was such a child whose physique blinded the Police to his disability. But does this mean he should spend his young life behind bars? knowing the truth from the mouth of the hitman himself, Davontae was not involved in this crime. We read everyday of innocent grown competant and able men held in the prison system for crimes they did not commit, if they fight so hard for the truth to be heard then surely a child has little hope especially one with learning difficulties of ever being heard. We must ensure this child's voice is echoed throughout the halls of Juvenile Justice, treat this child as your own, fight for him, in all conscience who of us could sleep knowing we had the tools of advocay at our disposal and remained silent? Make the difference one child at a time, be the voice of Juvenile Defendants, No Child belongs behind Bars!!
We ask for your support to free Davontae, there has been an unprecedented media black out in this case, given it's high profile status the Media has consistently ignored this young child's fight, we ask why?
Vincent Smothers' testimony would be the most crucial evidence yet to try to persuade a judge to throw out Davontae Sanford's guilty plea and free him from a nearly 40-year prison sentence. In an interview ...
In the midst of a murder enquiry, the intensity that was surrounding Runyard Street Davontae Sanford was transfixed. In his eagerness to please he stepped forward, telling an elaborate story regarding the killings and in his ...
Vincent Smothers wears death all over his body. The self-professed hit man is tattooed on his arms, back, legs and chest — permanent reminders of friends and loved ones who died before him. The names, tombstones and dates of their deaths are impressively etched on his 6-foot-1 lanky frame. Smothers, 27, says he's no stranger to death. He told police that he stealthily freelanced seven slayings on Detroit's poverty-stricken east side from 2006 to the end of last year. He said he mostly killed drug dealers who either owed a debt, stole the merchandise or had infringed on someone else's turf. But he also has confessed to killing two men who were targeted as federal informants and a Detroit police sergeant's wife. In his confession, Smothers told police that he wasn't remorseful until he killed the sergeant's wife. For the occasion, he donned suits, ties and sunglasses, and usually carried at least two guns — an AK47 and a .40-caliber pistol — for efficiency. He said he practiced shooting at a gun range between jobs. After high school, Smothers told police he began stealing cars, dabbling in the drug world and robbing dope houses before graduating to contract killings in 2006 for one motivation: money. By many accounts, Smothers is a soft-spoken and charming man with a handsome smile and a polished persona — certainly not a man who embodied a murder-for-hire existence. After his April 19 arrest, Smothers described to police the two lives he led: one with his wife and newborn daughter in a tidy townhouse complex in Shelby Township, where he would walk his beloved poodle and politely speak to neighbors; the other as a man who matter-of-factly detailed his deadly trail for police. Smothers said his first kill occurred on Aug. 16, 2006, in front of a reputed drug house on Strasburg near Gratiot. He was hired to kill two brothers, but only one was there at the time. Adrian Thornton, 27, was killed by gunshot wounds to the head, chest and legs. Another 28-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the left side of the head, but survived. Weathered teddy bears mark the grassy spot across the street where Thornton collapsed on his back after running from the house. But Smothers did not forget the other half of his assignment. Waiting about five months to the day, Smothers said he returned to the Strasburg neighborhood on Jan. 17, 2007, to gun down Carl Thornton, 29. Neighbors said Smothers laid in wait in an abandoned house and ambushed Thornton and a 22-year-old woman, who was shot in the buttocks but survived. Neighbor Nancy Jenkins, 58, said she hit the floor and called 911 when the shooting started. She said she peeked out her window and saw Thornton lying facedown on his front porch, and a woman bleeding and crawling toward her house. "They sounded like automatic cannons," Jenkins recalled of the gunshots. "I heard it was a hit — that they had stole something from a drug man," she said. Police say Smothers told them he was hired to kill Marshall White Jr., 56, and Johnny Marshall, 64, because they were believed to be federal informants. The men were found dead about noon May 24, 2007, at Jos. Campau and the I-94 eastbound service drive. Police found the car with the hood up. White was shot in the head outside the car, and Marshall was in the passenger seat with a gunshot to the face. A federal source who requested anonymity said the case is under investigation. Smothers has not been charged in those killings. But he is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the June 21, 2007, fatal shootings of Clarence Cherry, 34, and Gaudrielle Webster, 18. Cherry was struck 20 times in the head, abdomen, leg, arm and chest. Another woman, Karsia Rice, 18, survived the attack on Gravier, off Cadieux near Mack. Smothers' accomplice, Lakari Berry, 27, was arrested shortly after the shootout and is serving life in prison with no chance of parole for the killings. Smothers confessed to police that he was the other shooter. Meanwhile, Smothers has told police he is prepared to take full responsibility for his actions.
Listen to internet radio with TheNancyLockhartShow on Blog Talk Radio Joining us will be Attorney Kim McGinnis and Ms. Sanford (Davontae's Mother) From The Associated Press: A Detroit hit man in prison for eight murders said he's willing to publicly take responsibility for four more to help clear a young man who claims he's innocent of the slayings and confessed at age 14 only to satisfy police. Vincent Smothers' testimony would be the most crucial evidence yet to try to persuade a judge to throw out Davontae Sanford's guilty plea and free him from a nearly 40-year prison sentence. In an interview with The Associated Press, Smothers declared: "He's not guilty. He didn't do it." Smothers said he never used a 14-year-old accomplice — blind in one eye and learning disabled — to carry out his paid hits, mostly victims tied to Detroit's drug trade. Ironically, there's no dispute that Smothers confessed to the so-called Runyon Street slayings when he was captured in 2008, but prosecutors have never charged him and never explained why. "I understand what prison life is like; it's miserable. To be here and be innocent — I don't know what it's like," Smothers said of Sanford, who is now 19. "He's a kid, and I hate for him to do the kind of time they're giving him." Told about the AP interview, Sanford's attorney said she soon would ask a judge to bring Smothers to court. "If we can get Mr. Smothers up on the stand, it would be awesome for Davontae," Kim McGinnis said Monday. http://www.change.org/petitions/new-trial-for-davontae-sanford Video - http://youtu.be/KILs6U5dFRA
by TheNancyLockhartShow From The Associated Press: A Detroit hit man in prison for eight murders said he's willing to publicly take responsibility for four more to help clear a young man who claims he's innocent of the slayings and confessed at age 14 only to satisfy police.
Vincent Smothers' testimony would be the most crucial evidence yet to try to persuade a judge to throw out Davontae Sanford's guilty plea and free him from a nearly 40-year prison sentence. In an interview with The Associated Press, Smothers declared: "He's not guilty. He didn't do it."
Smothers said he never used a 14-year-old accomplice — blind in one eye and learning disabled — to carry out his paid hits, mostly victims tied to Detroit's drug trade. Ironically, there's no dispute that Smothers confessed to the so-called Runyon Street slayings when he was captured in 2008, but prosecutors have never charged him and never explained why.
"I understand what prison life is like; it's miserable. To be here and be innocent — I don't know what it's like," Smothers said of Sanford, who is now 19. "He's a kid, and I hate for him to do the kind of time they're giving him."
Told about the AP interview, Sanford's attorney said she soon would ask a judge to bring Smothers to court.
"If we can get Mr. Smothers up on the stand, it would be awesome for Davontae," Kim McGinnis said Monday.
The case against Davontae Sanford is falling apart, the truth is being uncovered, the cracks starting to show...., it's time for this miscarriage of Justice to be corrected, and the true and flawless image of this child to shine through...Free Davontae Sanford now!!!
Which confessor to the murders was actually there on Runyon Street? The hit man, or the fourteen-year-old with no real criminal past who had a reputation for making things up and talking big at school?
The 'patently false evidence' of Detroit's former top homicide cop helped sink a Detroit teenager's bid to withdraw his guilty plea to a 2007 quadruple murder, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge ruled Tuesday.
By Seek Justice Tuesday, 21 February 2012 12:00 until 13:00 We are asking Davontae's supporters to call in to the "Fighting for Justice" program and ask hosts to cover details and developments in Davontae's case. Call-In line: 313.298.1200
In the Detroit area listen on your radio AM-1200 and FM 99.9FM
Next Scheduled Shows Tuesdays, Feb 21 & 28 from Noon to 1 p.m. on WCHB-1200, Detroit
Fighting for Justice will examine wrongful convictions and other social justice issues. It is hosted by Richard Bernstein who is no stranger to taking on the issues that discriminate against people who have less. Richard is a highly acclaimed and accomplished lawyer in the Detroit area.
The first show, Jan 3rd, featured Ken Wyniemko, a friend and advisor of Proving Innocence. Ken is an exoneree who spent 8.5 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Since his exoneration, Ken has worked tirelessly to institute legislative reforms to change the system, as well as supported exonerees in their difficult challenge of readjusting to normal life outside of prison.
As the weeks roll on, periodically, Ken will continue the series, but we have no schedule as such. When Ken is on, Proving Innocence's site is one convenient place you can come to where you will find a widget that will stream the program live. But in the event that you miss a show or want to review others, we will record and archive all the shows that deal with wrongful convictions.
Listeners are encourage to call in to 313.298.1200 to ask questions of Richard or his guest or to express your own views on the subject.
IONIA, Mich. — A Detroit hit man in prison for eight murders said he’s willing to publicly take responsibility for four more to help clear a young man who claims he’s innocent of the slayings and confessed at age 14 only to satisfy police.
Davontae Sanford State: Michigan Background The Detroit newspapers broke another evolving story of a juvenile who not only may have falsely confessed to a multiple murder, he pled guilty to the crimes and received a sentence of up to 90 years. Davontae Sanford was a developmentally disabled 14 year old boy when he was arrested and charged with the murders which took place in connection with the robbery of a drug house. After he pled guilty at age 16, Sanford’s appellate attorney, Kim McGinnis, learned that another man had confessed to the crime. That man, Vincent Smothers, is a known hit man, who is wanted in connection with numerous other murders including the contract killing of the wife of a Detroit police officer. Although police are discounting his confession at the moment, the crime bears many of the signature traits of Smothers’ killings, including the same weapons. Sanford’s confession, upon close inspection, is filled with errors, including a mistake about the kinds of guns that were used. Police released all of the other co-defendant's who Sanford had named for lack of evidence. The confession was obtained during early morning hour interrogation sessions with the boy conducted without a parent or guardian present. Here, the boy’s initial interrogations were not recorded and the only portion that was recorded contained footage of a police officer going over a transcript of the earlier interrogation with Sanford. Update: July 21, 2009 After ballistic testing, bullets found at the scene have been connected back to the known hitman, Vincent Smothers. The prosecutor is now forced to argue that this hitman hired a one-eyed, 14-year-old boy to help him, and then this boy then wandered up to policemen in his pajamas to report the crime. Update: November 6, 2009 Davontae Sanford now has an alibi to further support how his claim that his confession and guilty plea to a quadruple murder. William Rice, a retired Detroit Police Commander and veteran of 25 years on the force testified on October 28 that Sanford was with him at a family member's house when the killings occurred. Update: March 16, 2010 It is the theatre of the absurd in a Wayne County Courtroom. Davontae Sanford, a 14 year old mentally retarded boy when he confessed to killing four people in a drug house in Detroit, clearly did not commit the crime he confessed to and pled guilty to. The crime was later confessed to by Vincent Smothers, a notorious hitman, who has already confessed to killing at least 10 people in vivid detail. Smothers named his accomplice in some of these killings –Ernest Nemo Davis. Police have not arrested Davis and continue to argue that Smothers must have used Sanford, who is not only mentally retarded but is blind in one eye, as his accomplice. The case bears all of the markings of a Smothers’ hit, right down to the ballistics evidence and the gangbusters style of the shooting, to the fact that many of Smothers’ other hits were on the same block. As the article below indicates, the tide may be turning in Sanford’s favor. For the second court date in a row, a Detroit policeman has taken the stand and called into question the veracity of the confession. At the last hearing, an officer provided an alibi for the boy and today, a second officer vouched for the reliability of Smothers’ confessions and described the Sanford confession as “weak.” Here’s hoping that the judge does the right thing and vacates this conviction sooner rather than later so that the boy can spend the remaining years of his adolescence on the streets. Update: April 26, 2010 Davontae Sanford is innocent. The mentally disabled teenager confessed to killing four people during a shoot-out at a drug house. One retired police officer has already stepped forward to find an alibi, and now a second police officer has raised questions about the police investigation (a move that could not have been popular among his peers). The reason we know that Sanford’s confession is false: a serial contract killer Vincent Crothers has confessed to the crime and provided accurate details that only the true perpetrator could have known. Meanwhile, the case drags on as prosecutors are making Sanford’s post-conviction lawyers jump through needless hoops. Update: May 13, 2010 This is getting insane. The idea that a hit man would have anything to do with a mentally limited 14 year old who is blind in one eye is absurd. Two police officers have raised concerns about a wrongful conviction (one who gave an alibi and a second who testified that Sanford’s confession was unreliable) and now a third police officer had testified that the hit man admitted that Sanford was innocent. This trial judge should grant the motion for a new trial now, vacate Sanford’s conviction, and leave it to the State to decide if they want to retry the boy in light of all of the newly discovered evidence of his innocence. Update: June 30, 2010 A hearing today to determine whether a police investigator can testify for Sanford that his confession is unreliable. Update: July 23, 2010 Vincent Smothers will remain behind bars for the rest of his life, but, despite his confession, he still remains uncharged in the quadruple murder for which Davontae Sanford is serving his time.
With Davontae's Case under a spotlight right now this is the time to push harder for Justice, if you have supported Davontae for a long time or just become aware of his fight, we need you more than ever now, if we are going to be successful in this war on injustice for Davontae and his family we need to be united, so please sign, share, care! See this child as your own, see all children tried/sentenced/incarcerated as adult's as your family, for we are all in a struggle through this life, but we can still find the time and compassion to make another's journey less harsh. God Bless you.
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