Detroit man convicted of murder to be on home confinement pending new trial request

A Wayne County judge ordered Monday that a Detroit man convicted in a 2004 slaying be released on home confinement while the court weighs his request for a new trial.

Thelonious Searcy

Judge Thomas Hathaway ordered Thelonious Searcy to home confinement starting next month as the court decide whether Searcy will be given a new trial in the murder of Jamal Segars.

We're offering a great deal on all-access subscriptions. Check it out here.

Searcy, 41, was convicted in 2005 of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting of Segars as he sat in traffic near the Coleman A. Young Airport on the city’s east side Sept. 5, 2004.

Last month, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that Searcy should be given a new trial in the slaying, to which a self-professed hitman allegedly confessed.

Searcy is serving his prison sentence at the Thumb Correctional Facility where, his attorney says, he's been infected twice with COVID-19. 

During a lengthy hearing on an emergency motion for bond by Searcy's attorney Michael Dezsi, Hathaway granted the attorney's request and ordered Searcy to be released on home confinement. The judge stayed his order until April 4 in case Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy's office decides to appeal.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller, the spokeswoman for Worthy, said Monday the office plans to appeal: “We will be seeking leave to appeal the case in the Michigan Supreme Court."

Dezsi said the order means his client could be back with his relatives soon.

"I’m very happy that my client will soon be able to come home to his family after 17 years of being wrongfully convicted," he said. 

If the Michigan Court of Appeals does not reverse its earlier ruling, Searcy could be released on bond pending a possible retrial, his attorney said.

Vincent Smothers had taken credit for Segars’ death and wrote three affidavits in 2015 and 2016 saying he, not Searcy, killed Segars, according to court documents.

In August 2015, Smothers wrote a letter to Searcy in which he said he had killed Segars. 

In December 2015, Smothers submitted two affidavits, each of which said he shot Segars with a .40-caliber handgun.

Smothers, who was in prison, wrote that he had killed the victim “during a botched robbery on Whithorn and Conners [sic] across from the city airport.”