Life sentence conviction to be dropped in Michigan fire that killed 5 kids

Posted at 11:35 AM, Aug 31, 2021

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — Authorities are dropping a murder conviction against a man who is serving a life sentence for a fire that killed five children in suburban Detroit in 2000, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

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The case against Juwan Deering was spoiled by the failure to share evidence that would have helped his defense, said Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald, who was elected last fall.

Deering didn't get a “fair trial,” she said.

McDonald, noting a state police investigation, stopped short of saying the charges would ultimately be dropped.

In 2006, Deering, now 50, was convicted of murder in the deaths in a house fire in Royal Oak Township. Authorities at the time said the fire was revenge for drug debts, though Deering repeatedly declared his innocence. No one could identify him as being at the house.

The Innocence Clinic at University of Michigan law school had been trying to get a new trial for Deering, arguing that the fire analysis was based on “junk science,” but those efforts were unsuccessful in Michigan’s appellate courts.