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After spending eight years in prison for a crime they did not commit, Deshawn Reed and his uncle, Marvin Reed, were freed today after the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office dropped charges against them.

“It’s been a long time, but I’m home,” Marvin Reed said, surrounded by family members, his attorneys and media outside Wayne County Circuit Court.

“It doesn’t feel real,” Deshawn Reed said, holding hands with his sons.

The Ecorse men were convicted eight years ago of shooting Shannon Gholston, but three weeks ago Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Fresard ordered a new trial for them, declaring, “There is a significant possibility that the defendants are innocent,” in her written ruling.

Before that, in a series of evidentiary hearings this spring, Gholston — who was left a quadriplegic as a result of the shooting — told the court that his previous testimony identifying the Reeds as the assailants was incorrect, and that he never actually saw who shot him.

In addition, the Reeds’ current attorneys — and law students from the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic — argued that earlier appeals did not include adequate information about the gun used to shoot Gholston being found on another man, Tyrone Allen. At trial, witnesses had identified him as the shooter.

During today’s 30-second bond hearing, attorneys for the Reeds initially asked that they be released until they could be retried. Then Assistant Prosecutor Raj Prasad announced that the fight was over.

“In light of the court’s decision and the evidence at this time, we’re unable to proceed and we’re willing to dismiss without prejudice,” he said.

By asking that the charges be dismissed “without prejudice," the Prosecutor’s Office leaves open the possibility that the men could be tried again at some point in the future. But, given the strength of evidence supporting their long-held claims of innocence, that seems highly unlikely.

“You guys are released,” Fresard told the Reeds.

About two hours later, the Reeds had been processed and emerged from the Wayne County Jail to dozens of family members who cheered and cried. Media filmed them. Their attorneys beamed.

“It’s finally over and I’m just happy to be reunited with my family,” Deshawn Reed said.

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