LANSING, Michigan (WLNS) – After nearly 25 years behind bars, the trials of George DeJesus and Melvin DeJesus in Auckland County have been lifted.
Auckland County Court Judge Martha D. Anderson overturned the sentences Tuesday morning during a hearing held through Zoom.
The brothers were illegally convicted of murder and firearms in 1997.
New evidence uncovered during an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office on the Inviolability of the Prosecution (CIU) justifies both after nearly 25 years in prison.
I appreciate the tireless work that the unit has done to achieve these excuses for the DeJesus brothers. This day is another source of great pride for our Department of Criminal Justice, which was established in 2019 to make sure that those convicted of state crimes are indeed guilty. I look forward to our continued collaboration with the Cooley Innocence Project and the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic in our collective pursuit of justice for those illegally imprisoned. ”
Attorney General Dana Nessel
Both the Auckland County Sheriff’s Office and the Auckland County Attorney’s Office collaborated with the CIU to provide important information as well as give evidence for DNA analysis.
On July 11, 1995, the woman’s body was found at her home in Pontiac, Michigan.
According to the Attorney General, she was found naked in her basement with a pillowcase on her head and wires that tied her neck, wrists and ankles.
Brendan Hohagen was linked to the crime scene through DNA and eventually confessed to sexually assaulting the victim.
Hohagen claimed that Melvin forced Hohagen to commit sexual assault, and then Melvin and George tied up the victim and beat her to death. Hohagen won the deal and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree criminal sexual conduct in exchange for his testimony against George and Melvin.
In court, George and Melvin expressed an alibi defense that they were all at a party Saturday night, the night Hohagen said the crime happened. George, Melvin and Hohagen broke up after the party. However, both witnesses alibis were considered because they did not match whether there was a party on Friday or Saturday. George and Melvin were eventually convicted by a jury in 1997 and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole by the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) on December 30, 1997.
In 2017, Hohagen was convicted of sexual assault and the murder of another woman in Auckland County in 1994. Hohagen acted alone in this crime.
In addition to the 1995 and 1994 cases, the CIU identified 12 other women who had been subjected to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse by Hohagen.
In addition, the CIU spoke with numerous witnesses and reviewed documents that had been given for decades. The CIU found witness testimony made in the weeks following the crime that confirmed the brothers’ alibi on the night of the 1995 murder.
George is in the process of being released from the Michigan abbot in Ionia, and Melvin is being released from the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Caldwater.