After nearly 5 years in jail, Flint man acquitted of charges in 2015 murder

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

After years of waiting in his Michigan jail cell, a Flint man walked free on Friday when a jury found him not guilty of a double shooting in 2015.

Larry Clemons III spent nearly five years in Genesee County Jail awaiting. A jury found Clemons not guilty on six counts connected to the August 2015 fatal shooting of 43-year-old Dewaun Marcell Bell, according to MLive.

Larry Clemons

The incident occurred around 1 a.m. at a home on the 1700 block of Polly Street in Flint. Bell was fatally shot inside and a woman was wounded during an alleged armed robbery. Clemons had 11 trials and 32 pretrial appearances adjourned.

The Detroit News visited Clemons in December, when he was still incarcerated but had not been convicted. Clemons, a 33-year-old father of four, told The News he hadn't seen the sky since Sept. 25, 2015. 

"I’ve lost four years of my life already," he said. "I can’t get those four years back even if I’m found not guilty. I’ll literally have to start over.”

Clemons' attorney, Major White, could not be reached Tuesday but told MLive it took four years for the case to go to trial because of procedural issues. Clemons was charged in one case in 2015, then a second case in 2019 after which the cases were consolidated.

"Both cases allegedly happened in 2015, they waited four years to charge him with the other case," White told MLive. "The jury found him not guilty on all charges in both cases. They believed he was suspected in both cases but waited until 2019 to charge him with a second murder."

It's not the way justice should work, then-Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said in December. He blames overcrowding in his jail, in part, for the slow movement through the courts of many defendants.

"There is a presumption of innocence in our system," Pickell said then. "When you have people in jail for four years who are presumed innocent, that’s a problem."

The Genesee County Jail was at capacity more than 300 days last year. In December when The News reporter visited, it held 617 inmates while the capacity is 580. The average jail stay in Genesee is 170 days.

“The jury has spoken and we respect the jury’s verdict," Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton told MLive.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_