On Wednesday, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office decided not to retry Dwayne Provience for a 2000 drug killing. He was convicted in 2001 of second-degree murder and sentenced to 30-60 years in prison.
Provience was freed through the efforts of the
Michigan Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School
, which is a member of the
. Students at the clinic discovered that crucial evidence had been withheld during the trial.
According to prosecutors, the victim had been poaching on Provience’s drug territory, and he was convicted mostly on the testimony of a neighborhood man who claimed he saw the shooting.
Law professor and co-director at the Michigan Innocence Clinic David Moran told the Detroit News that Provience is innocent and that authorities had the wrong man for more than nine years.
“He’s innocent because the police had overwhelming evidence from the very first day of the crime that someone else did it: what kind of car they were driving, the license number of their car, and it all pointed to the same guys,” Moran said. “And the prosecution in a different case argued that those guys did it.”
“I’m just so happy right now. It feels like I’m walking out of prison all over again,” Provience, 36, of Detroit said during a telephone interview en route to a Wayne County jail to have a GPS tether removed from his leg. “I’m going to be taking it a day at a time and try to get my life back on track.”
Provience’s original lawyer failed to seek the trial testimony of several other drivers who saw the victim shot from a car other than Provience’s, and fled in a different direction. The clinic also learned that in a related trial, another prosecutor told jurors the victim was killed by someone else. The original witness was tracked down and recanted his testimony.
Already out on bond, Provience was required to wear an electronic tracking device while working to get his life back. He is holding down two jobs as a custodian at a flea market and as a floor manager at a gym. Yesterday was the first day in a decade Provience was totally free.