‘White Boy Rick’ to get parole hearing June 8

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
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Convicted Detroit drug dealer Richard Wershe Jr. will get a parole hearing on June 8 — his first since 2003, officials said.

The hearing for Wershe, 47, more commonly known as “White Boy Rick,” will be held at 9 a.m. at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Chris Gautz, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, said Tuesday.


Wershe was sentenced to life in prison for possession of cocaine in 1988.

The state parole board voted April 14 in Lansing to set up a public hearing for Wershe.

Wershe was up for parole twice, but was denied both times. His last high-profile hearing was 14 years ago, which Detroit area singer Kid Rock attended.

It’s possible Wershe be headed to a Florida prison, even if he is granted parole.

He was convicted in 2006 of felony racketeering conduct while behind bars in Florida, according to officials. Wershe had been moved to Florida from Michigan for his protection.

Florida officials will decide what will happen to Wershe if Michigan grants him parole.

In Michigan, those sentenced to life in prison can be considered for parole every five years, but the state’s parole board doesn’t always grant a public hearing.

Authorities say Wershe was a Detroit drug kingpin during the 1980s crack epidemic when he was arrested at age 17.

His defenders have argued that Wershe was a one-time paid informant for the Detroit Police Department and that there were far worse drug dealers in the city who served less time.

Now, Wershe’s life story will be retold in a major film with Matthew McConaughey as Wershe’s father. It’s expected to be in theaters in January. The movie is looking for actors.


Detroit News staff writer Michael Gerstein contributed.

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