Former Detroit Police Lt. William Rice was mum at his sentencing. (Clarence Tabb, Jr. / The Detroit News)
Detroit— William Rice, a well-known former Detroit Police Department homicide detective, was sentenced Thursday to 2-20 years in prison for mortgage fraud and perjury for agreeing to provide an alibi for a relative of his mistress under investigation for a quadruple murder.
Rice showed no emotion and declined to make a statement during his sentencing before Wayne County Circuit Judge Gregory Bill. Also sentenced was his co-defendant and girlfriend, Cheryl Sanford.
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Christine Kowal said Rice’s sentencing represents a sad day for Detroit’s Police Department.
“He has fallen far from grace,” Kowal said. “I don’t know what happened to Bill Rice but it’s a sad day to see Bill Rice sitting at the defendant’s table.”
The judge added that while Rice’s “reputation does precede” him, his sentencing marked another infamous day for Detroiters when a noted officer is found guilty of being on the wrong side of the law.
“This is another black mark in the history of the city of Detroit,” said Bill, who added police officers are ranked high on the list of people the public looks up to.
Rice’s co-counsel, Otis Culpepper ,said Rice is still a man of character.
“People make mistakes and come back from them,” Culpepper said. “I know the character of the man who stands beside me.”
Rice and Sanford were immediately taken into custody after their sentencings.
In December, Rice pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury under a plea agreement that calls for a sentence of up to 20 years on both counts, to run concurrently. The perjury charge stemmed from the murder case of his co-defendant’s nephew, Davontae Stanford, who pleaded guilty to a quadruple murder in a local drug house in 2007. He was 14 at the time and is developmentally disabled.
Stanford later withdrew his plea and and during a hearing Rice testified he was with Stanford at the time of the murders. That was later proven to be untrue.
The ex-lieutenant, who retired in 2005, also pleaded guilty on a charge of continuing criminal enterprise. It was charged that he and his co-defendant stole Section 8 housing money meant to help low-income residents qualify for mortgages.
In addition, Rice will have to pay $100,196 in restitution as a condition of possible parole in the future.
Sanford pleaded guilty to one count of continuing criminal enterprise and one count of false pretenses ($1,000 to $20,000).
Her plea agreement calls for a sentence of up to five years of probation, with the first year to be spent in the Wayne County Jail with no work release or early release.
She must also pay $100,196 in restitution as a condition of probation.