A Michigan circuit court judge set aside the perjury conviction of Michigan Innocence Clinic client Ray McCann II on Thursday in relation to the 2007 murder of a young girl.
Ten-year-old Jodi Parrack went missing in November of 2007. McCann, who was a reserve police officer at the time, helped conduct the search and suggested her family look in the local cemetery. When the child’s body was eventually found there, McCann became a person of interest in her murder.
McCann was interrogated nearly 20 times over the span of a few years, during which he denied involvement in the killing 86 times. Detectives lied to him, saying they found his DNA on the child’s body and had surveillance video footage that contradicted his alibi.
In an attempt to charge McCann with something, a detective persuaded the county prosecutor to issue a subpoena to require McCann to testify under oath about his whereabouts at the time of Parrack’s disappearance. Due to a minor discrepancy between his testimony and his account to police five years prior, the prosecutor charged McCann with perjury during a murder investigation, which carries a potential life sentence. At a hearing, the detective lied under oath that he had the video footage contradicting McCann’s alibi. Believing he could not beat the charges, McCann pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 20 months in prison.
While McCann was serving his sentence, a young girl in a nearby town was nearly abducted. She escaped and led police to Daniel Furlong, who eventually admitted to killing Parrack eight years earlier. DNA testing later corroborated his confession.
The Michigan Innocence Clinic filed a motion asking St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough to vacate McCann’s perjury conviction on the grounds that his no contest plea was induced by the police detective’s false testimony. On Thursday, McDonough agreed.
“It is ironic that after serving time in the county jail and being threatened with a potential life sentence, Ray McCann pleaded no contest to a charge of perjury when, in fact, he had told the truth and the charge itself was based on police fabrications,” Michigan Innocence Clinic Director David Moran told Wood TV. “I am grateful that Mr. McDonough chose to do the right thing and exonerate him.”
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