37 YEARS IN PRISON BECAUSE OF A LYING WITNESS

37 YEARS IN PRISON BECAUSE OF A LYING WITNESS

Michigan man imprisoned for nearly 4 decades exonerated after witness admits to lying

37 YEARS IN PRISON BECAUSE OF A LYING WITNESS


Walter Forbes was a full-time student at Michigan’s Jackson Community College in 1982. He had dreams of owning a real estate development firm after graduating.

One night that year, Forbes broke up a bar fight. He didn’t know that would change his life forever. A man involved in the bar fight shot Forbes the next day, according to court documents.

The damage the gunshot did to Forbes’ body may have taken a few months to heal, but what happened next led to him spending nearly four decades in prison, leaving deep lifelong wounds on him and his family.  The man who shot Forbes, Dennis Hall, died in his apartment in Jackson, Michigan, in a fire that appeared to be deliberately set on July 12, 1982.  Because Hall and Forbes were recently involved in an altercation, police considered Forbes a suspect in the arson. Police arrested him at his home. Forbes was convicted of arson and murder in May 1983 and was sentenced to life in prison.

Forbes, 63, became a free man on Nov. 20, more than 37 years following his conviction, after the prosecution’s star witness admitted to fabricating her story and evidence surfaced that the fire may have been part of an insurance fraud scheme orchestrated by apartment building owner, leading to a retrial, according to documents filed in Jackson County Circuit Court. 

“It felt like all the possibilities that I was working on all those years were coming to fruition,” Forbes said about when truth was coming to light. “I didn’t think it would take that long, but patience paid off.”


1 Comment

  1. Injustice breeds contempt which breeds anger and hopelessness, which yields to desperation and despondency. Mr. Forbes has faced it all and risen above those evils events. The Lord has blessed him and set him free.

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