The prosecution dropped all murder charges against a man on Thursday who had spent almost 21 years behind bars for shooting two hunters to death in Michigan.
Jeff Titus, a former prisoner of Ohio, was released in February after authorities admitted that crucial information about an Ohio serial murderer was not shared with his lawyer during 2002.
Jeff Getting, Kalamazoo county prosecutor, said that after reviewing the case over a period of three months Titus would not be facing a new trial.
Getting said to reporters, “This is what we should do.”
Titus said that he is “truly innocent” at the same press conference.
You can put me in the rack or the truth serum. I did not do this. … Titus replied, “I did not shoot these people.”
Doug Estes, Jim Bennett and others were killed in 1990 near Titus’ rural property. Titus had not been identified as a suspect because he was hunting deer at a distance of 27 miles. However, murder charges were brought against him after 12 years when a new investigation team reopened this case.
No physical evidence was found against Titus. He was depicted as a hothead that didn’t tolerate trespassers.
Innocence Clinic, University of Michigan Law School was trying to overturn Titus’ convictions when they discovered a dusty 30 page file from the initial investigation at the Sheriff’s Office. The file was a major breakthrough: it referred to Thomas Dillon, a suspect from Magnolia, Ohio.
This information was not shared with Titus’ trial lawyer. It is a serious violation.
Jacinda Davies, of the TV network Investigation Discovery and Susan Simpson through her podcast “Undisclosed” had raised doubts over Titus’ guilt, and raised questions about Dillon.
Simpson saw Dillon’s file at the Sheriff’s Office and notified the Innocence Clinic.
Getting, a former prosecutor who was not in charge when Titus’ charges were brought, stated that the trial had serious flaws and key witnesses who gave testimony in 2002 are now deceased.
“I don’t know who killed Mr. Estes or Mr. Bennett,” Getting stated. “But I am 100% certain that a trial against Mr. Titus now would not meet the constitutional requirements for fairness.”
Dillon died at prison in 2011. Dillon was arrested in September 1993. He pleaded guilty in the end to killing five people while they were hunting, fishing, or jogging in Ohio between 1989 and 1992.
Titus may be entitled to more than $1,000,000 under a program by the state that compensates those wrongly convicted.
Mary Chartier said that Titus was “actually innocent”. “Mr. Titus is capable of doing many things, but he cannot be in two places simultaneously. He couldn’t have committed these crimes.”