News@noon: The truth about the Davontae Sanford case

The Detroit News

Today is Monday, June 20, 2016, and reporter George Hunter has a pair of stories you simply must read.

Wayne County prosecutors waited months before telling Davontae Sanford’s attorneys about evidence that would exonerate the man who spent eight years in prison for murders he didn’t commit, according to a Michigan State Police report. Legal experts question the delay that forced Sanford to sit in prison an extra eight months before prosecutors decided to drop the charges. Beyond that, they say prosecutors also had an ethical duty to quickly disclose to Sanford’s attorneys alleged perjury by former Detroit police deputy chief James Tolbert.

Davontae Sanford is reunited with his mom, Taminko Sanford-Tilmon, on June 8 at their home in Detroit.

Prosecutors have until July 13 to decide whether to charge Tolbert with perjury in connection with the wrongful imprisonment case before the statute of limitations expires. The 56-year-old Tolbert also figures prominently in investigations and lawsuits related to the Sanford case. Two Detroit detectives testified Tolbert interfered with their 2008 investigation into hit man Vincent Smothers, who confessed to 12 killings, including those for which Sanford was convicted.

Here's what else we have for you today:

Tech Center transforms

  • It’s been 13 months since GM announced a $1 billion plan to expand and renovate its global technical center, some of which dates to the 1950s. The company through 2018 plans to overhaul some 6.2 million square feet of building space at the large complex on Van Dyke Avenue that employs about 21,000. The work will remove walls, signs of GM’s efforts to create a culture of collaboration and efficiency.

School troubles persist

  • Even though the list of schools with budget deficits has declined, there are still 23 districts expected to end the 2016 fiscal year in debt. Worse than that, seven of the districts are projected to have even deeper debt, including Detroit Public Schools, Mount Clemens and Highland Park. In fact, by the end of FY2016, Highland Park could have just one charter school remaining in the entire district. 

Ford on top

  • History repeated itself for Ford Motor Co. on the 50th anniversary of its podium sweep at Le Mans. The Blue Oval’s No. 68 GT won the GTE Pro class, beating longtime rival Ferrari in Ford’s first victory at the French endurance race since 1980. The No. 69 Ford GT rounded out the podium in third place, and the No. 66 GT finished fourth.

Germany's Dirk Mueller crosses the finish line on his Ford GT No. 68, to win the LMGTE PRO category of the 84th Le Mans 24-hours endurance race, on Sunday in Le Mans, western France.

Funding for Flint

Trump backtracks

Cavs make history

  • LeBron James cradled the shiny gold trophy and struggled to sum up what might be his sweetest championship yet, the one he is so proudly bringing home to his native northeast Ohio just as he promised to do when he returned to the Cavaliers two summers ago. James and his relentless, never-count-them-out Cavs pulled off an improbable NBA Finals comeback, and Cleveland is title town again at long last.

Miked Up: Best of the test drives

Candace Payne, also known as Chewbacca Mom, streams a Facebook Live video with her custom Chewbacca Mom action figure during a meet and greet at Hasbro HQ in Pawtucket, R.I., June 17, 2016.


  • Chewbacca Mom has a new toy to play with after Hasbro unveiled a custom action figure bearing her likeness. Candace Payne was invited to the toymaker’s Rhode Island headquarters last week and presented with an action figure with her head on Chewbacca’s body that comes complete with a removable mini Chewbacca mask. Entertainment Weekly reports the doll spouts several of Payne’s catchphrases from the Facebook video, including “I am such a happy Chewbacca.”

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