Things aren't looking too good for Fredrick Freeman, who is serving a life sentence for the 1986 murder of Scott Macklem in Port Huron.
Freeman, loyal Metro Times readers will remember, was the subject of a two-part series ("Reasonable doubt," Aug. 1 and 8, 2007) that called his guilt into question.
No physical evidence tied Freeman to the scene of the crime — a parking lot at St. Clair County Community College. An eyewitness, under questionable circumstances including hypnosis, placed Freeman there while several alibi witnesses told the jury Freeman was in the Upper Peninsula at the time of the shooting; prosecutors contended he could have chartered a plane but produced no evidence of him having done so. A jailhouse snitch testified that Freeman had confessed, but then the snitch, who received favors from prosecutors, recanted his claim before his death.
Freeman's defense attorney was later censured for his cocaine use.
Freeman, having exhausted his state appeals, has filed a habeas petition in U.S. District Court in Detroit. That case is still pending.
Ten months ago, Barbara Sampson, chair of the Michigan Parole Board, interviewed Freeman after the governor's Executive Clemency Advisory Council, formed in early 2007, determined his case merited further review. That review was conducted in April. It was Freeman's hope that the board would decide to hold a formal hearing on his case. But that didn't happen.
"They found no merit in the application," Liz Boyd, spokesperson for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, told News Hits. Essentially that means the board is recommending Freeman not receive parole, and that's bad news for him.
"Historically, governors follow the recommendation of the Parole Board," says Boyd.
"It's a shame," Freeman, in an interview at the Saginaw Correctional Facility last week, said about the board's decision.