Falsely convicted Davontae Sanford shot in Detroit

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Davontae Sanford, who was imprisoned as a teenager for a quadruple homicide he insists he didn’t commit, was shot Saturday night on Detroit’s east side.

“He was shot in the leg,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Sunday. “The injury is not life-threatening.”

Craig said detectives are still piecing together what happened Saturday night in the Martin Luther King homes on Lafayette, where Sanford lives.

“It’s still an active investigation, and many of the details have not been confirmed,” Craig said.

Sanford’s attorney Bill Goodman said he expects his client to recover. “He’s going to be OK, although as of last night he was still in the hospital,” he said Sunday.

Sanford was arrested at age 14 for a 2007 quadruple homicide in a drug house on Runyon Street, a block from his former home. He was imprisoned for nine years before being released in June 2016.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said she dropped second-degree murder charges against Sanford because former Detroit Police commander James Tolbert, who later became Flint’s police chief, sketched a diagram of the Runyon Street crime scene and then lied about it in court, saying Sanford had drawn it.

Tolbert was not charged with perjury because the statute of limitations expired a month after Sanford’s release. Worthy has insisted freeing Sanford does not mean he’s innocent.

Goodman filed a federal lawsuit last week claiming Detroit police tricked Sanford into confessing to the Sept. 17, 2007, killings on Runyon Street.

Sanford’s arrest “was the direct result of serious misconduct by Defendant Detroit Police Department detectives, who railroaded an easy and vulnerable target rather than do the hard work,” the lawsuit said.

Sanford’s mother, Taminko Sanford-Tilmon wrote on Facebook early Sunday: “My mind is in a thousand places. Thank you for (your) prayers!!! Everyone that came to the hospital n still coming ... the Texts (and) The phone calls.

“I really do appreciate it but right now my son Davontae is my main focus and on my mind ... please continue to lift us up in prayer the whole family.”