Detroit Man Exonerated of 2 Murders that occurred in 1994

DETROIT, MI – Ramon Ward, 44-years-old, was charged with two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of Sharon Cornell and Joan Gilliam which occurred on the night of January 21st, 1994 in a vacant drug house on Moran Street. RAMON LAMAR WARD

Mr. Ward was convicted of the murders when he was 18-year-old and served 27 years in prison.  The original police investigation identified no eyewitnesses. There was no physical evidence that linked Ward to the murders. As a result of investigation by the Conviction Integrity Unit other evidence showed conclusively that Mr. Ward did not commit the crimes.

Today Assistant Prosecutor Valerie Newman, Director of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit motioned to have the convictions of Ramon Ward dismissed and vacated. She was joined in the motion by Mr. Ward’s attorney John Smietanka.  The motion was granted by Judge Donald L. Knapp of the Wayne County Circuit Court.

Prosecutor Worthy said, “This is a classic example of why the CIU exists. Mr. Ward served over half of his life in prison for crimes he did not commit. His case was disturbing on several levels, and our intensive investigation showed that he is certainly entitled to the relief we requested today. We remain committed to thoroughly reviewing all CIU cases and will support Mr. Ward’s anticipated state claim for relief under the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act.”

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