Wrongfully convicted: February 11, 2003
Exonerated: April 21, 2020
Kevin Harrington had just completed his first year of college in 2002 when he was wrongfully arrested, charged and ultimately convicted of murder. Kevin briefly returned to his hometown of Inkster, MI after finishing a year of college in Ohio and just before leaving to spend his summer with a friend in New Mexico. When Michael Martin was killed in Inkster in September 2002, the police, for reasons that are still yet to be truly explained decided that Kevin Harrington and another man, George Clark, had to be the murderers.
Police pressured and coerced a woman who lived near the crime scene into implicating Harrington and Clark. Although this woman, the State’s sole inculpatory witness, recanted at trial, both men were convicted in 2003. Harrington’s conviction was thrown out and he was granted a new trial. Two hung juries followed, before Harrington was finally convicted in 2006.
The Michigan Innocence Clinic began working on Harrington’s case in 2009 and discovered significant new evidence showing that both Harrington and Clark were innocent, and also revealing the identity of the true murderer. After years of investigation and litigation, both Harrington (represented by the Innocence Clinic) and Clark (represented by the Jones Day law firm) were exonerated and released from prison in April 2020—once the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit reviewed the case and concluded they were innocent.
More details available at:
- The National Registry of Exonerations: Kevin Harrington
- The Detroit Free Press: "Murder convictions tossed, so 2 men walk free and right into quarantine"
- The Los Angeles Times: "After 18 years behind bars, an innocent man savors quarantine"
- NBC News: "Exonerated man freed from prison, now in hotel quarantine: 'I could watch Netflix!'"
- El Pais: "Kevin Harrington's eventful release: 17 years in jail for murder, now exonerated"