In October 2007, Claude McCullum was freed after spending a year and a half in Ingham County jail for a crime he didn't commit. The real killer was Matthew Macon, who in 2008 was convicted for the murders of two Lansing women. He is believed to have killed four others.
McCullum's conviction was based on a confession obtained in a two hour interview with Lansing Community College and Lansing police detectives and a single strand of fiber that experts said "might" have come from the victim's sweater.
On Wednesday last week, charges against Kosgar Lado for the June 26 shooting death of Anthony Kye of Lansing were dismissed. Lado had spent a month in Ingham County jail. He was charged on the basis of his confession. As quoted in the Lansing State Journal (July 26), Mike Maddaloni, Kosgar Lado's attorney, said "As soon as I read the (false) confession, I thought: ‘This kid didn’t have anything to do with it.'" If he could see it, why couldn't Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III?
Lado had been charged with open murder, assault with intent to commit murder, felony firearm possession and possession of a weapon with unlawful intent. From the beginning, however, his family insisted he had been with them at the time of the murder and had "never been arrested and never even held a gun, let alone shoot one.” (LSJ, 6/28/2013) So far, news reports have not said what new evidence led to the dismissal of charges.
Not only was Lado jailed for a month for a crime he did not commit, he faces new charges of providing false statements to police, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and $5,000 in fines. (mlive.com, 7/26/2013) And he was released only after posting a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.
I assume that the basis of the "providing false statements to police" charge is his confession. If so, the charge is ridiculous. If it was extracted under pressure and manipulation by the police as was the case with Claude McCullum, they have only themselves to blame. If Lado offered up the confession on his own, it is hard to imagine that he did so to interfere with the investigation. It is hard to imagine any reason why he would do so other than that he is mentally ill, which may be the case, since he is to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
This attempt to paint Lado as a criminal appears to be a distraction - an attempt to divert public attention from the police and prosecutorial bungling that put an innocent man in jail while the real killer went free. Claude McCullum got a bit of this, too. When he was released after a year and a half in jail, he was required to wear a tether.
I also wonder about the weapons charges that were among the original charges. Lado was charged with "felony firearm possession and possession of a weapon with unlawful intent." Did the police find a firearm in his possession or did they take his word for it?
My advise to Kosgar Lado: Sue the bastards. That is what Claude McCullum did, and he settled for $2 million. He also got an apology from Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III - two and a half years after his release. I was at the meeting at which Dunnings apologized. The thing I remember is Dunnings blaming McCullum's conviction on the jury.