Two Cleveland men who spent 15 years in prison for an attempted murder they've said all along they had no part in were released on bond yesterday after an appeals court unanimously overturned their convictions in March
"As expected, we are appealing this decision," Prosecutor Michael O'Malley's office said in a statement. "We owe nothing less to victims of this crime. In the end, we must allow the entire legal process to run its course and we will be satisfied with whatever the outcome may be."
“The state’s case has unraveled and to be blunt, they had their shot, they had their trial, they cheated,” Joanna Sanchez, a defense attorney for Phillips, said
. “They held back evidence and they deprived these two young men the opportunity to have a fair trial."
For now, Michael Sutton and Kenny Phillips are on court-supervised release while the legal process plays out.
Their families are overjoyed, both of whom waited for this moment during years the two spent in prison for a crime they say they didn't commit — a shooting on the near east side near the intersection of East 55th and Woodland. Sutton and Phillips were pulled over by two Cleveland police officers who suspected them of shooting into another vehicle and seriously wounding two people. Sutton and Phillips maintained from the start that the two cops got the wrong car. Nevertheless, Sutton and Phillips were sentenced to 46 and 92 years in prison, respectively.
After the Ohio Innocence Project and Ohio Public Defender's Office came on board in their defense, new witnesses were identified and two other Cleveland police officers at the intersection that night gave accounts that contradicted those of the two officers who pulled the teens over.