A hit man, imprisoned in Detroit, signed and affidavit in which he took full responsibility for four murders that took place at a Detroit drug house in 2007. Vincent “Vito” Smothers, went into great detail about the Runyon Street murders, stating that the victims were watching football on TV when he fired his AK-47.
Davontae Sanford, who is illiterate and blind in one eye, was 14 when he walked up to police at the murder scene and became a prime suspect.
Sanford pleaded guilty to second-degree murder eventually. Smothers has been trying to help the teen since 2012 but a judge refused to allow him to testify. In 2014, due to procedural reasons, Sanford was not allowed to withdraw his guilty plea. Prosecutor Kim Worthy’s office admitted in 2011 that aspects of the case defy explanation but she still refuses to back away from the conviction.
Sanford, now 22, will only be eligible for parole in 2046. His new lawyers blame Robert Sameka, his trial lawyer for not challenging Davontae’s confession.
Smothers has expressed deep frustration at the prosecutor’s refusal to admit that Sanford is innocent. Smothers is already serving 52 years for killing 8 other people (including the wife of a Detroit police officer) so he has nothing to gain from the admission. He promises that his testimony will include details “that could only be known by the person who committed the crime: me”.