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Wrongfully imprisoned Davontae Sanford: "They say I'm a free man ... let me be free"

After nearly nine years of wrongful imprisonment, Davontae Sanford is reunited with his mom, Taminko Sanford, this summer
Val Newman
After nearly nine years of wrongful imprisonment, Davontae Sanford is reunited with his mom, Taminko Sanford, this summer

After nearly nine years of being wrongfully imprisoned for murder, Davontae Sanford is free.

During his time in prison, which began when he was 14 years old, he missed out on many things. Sanford's  trying to get back to a normal life with  many people trying to help him with that difficult transition. A month after being released, he took the first step toward that goal by landing a job set up through someone who saw his case reported on a local TV station.

While a job is a start, Sanford is still adjusting. During an exclusive interview with Michigan Radio's Kate Wells, he said he knows life will be normal when he can just have fun and enjoy things he missed during the majority of his teenage years.

One of those signs of normality for Sanford involves roller coasters.


Unfortunately for Sanford, his trip to Cedar Point will have to wait because despite a judge vacating the homicide convictions against him, there is still another step in the process. For now, Sanford is officially on bond and cannot travel.

Sanford has remained remarkably calm and positive since his release and says he's not expecting an apology from anyone, including former Detroit police commander James Tolbert. On Tuesday, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced that there was not enough evidence to bring perjury charges against Tolbert whom Sanford says coerced him into a false confession. According to Sanford's lawyer Val Newman, Tolbert lied under oath and should be charged before the statute of limitations expires after today (Wednesday, July 13). 

Wells joined Stateside to talk about Sanford's case and about her dinner with Sanford. He talked about his mind state after being released and his new found freedom. 

Listen to the full interview with Wells below, which also include portions of her conversation with Sanford.

Josh Hakala, a lifelong Michigander (East Lansing & Edwardsburg), comes to Michigan Radio after nearly two decades of working in a variety of fields within broadcasting and digital media.
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