WMU-Cooley IP Client LeDura Watkins Exonerated

WMU-Cooley IP Client LeDura Watkins Exonerated

Western Michigan University Cooley Innocence Project

A 61-year-old man who has been in prison since 1976 was freed Thursday after a Wayne County Circuit judge agreed to vacate his sentence because his first-degree murder conviction was based on a discredited scientific method. Thursday’s release of LeDura Watkins makes him the longest-serving inmate in the United States to have his sentence vacated, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

The previous record for the most time served in prison before being having a sentence vacated was Ricky Jackson, who was incarcerated 39 years, three months and nine days in Ohio for a murder conviction before being released in 2015. Read more.