SADO Helps Secure Freedom for Brothers in 1987 Murder Case

Charges Against Thomas and Raymond Highers Dismissed

On July 26, 2012, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Talon vacated the first-degree murder convictions of brothers Thomas and Raymond Highers, two men who had already served 25 years in prison. After careful deliberation of the extensive evidence presented by Assistant Defender Valerie R. Newman of the State Appellate Defender Office (SADO), and Janet Napp of Flood Lanctot Connor Stablein, PLLC (attorneys for the brothers, respectively), Judge Talon found there was sufficient evidence that warranted a new trial for the brothers, specifically; evidence that two men who were seen running down the driveway of the victim's home were neither the killers nor Thomas or Raymond Highers thus refuting the two key premises that formed the basis for the original convictions. SADO Investigator Linda Borus and Julianne Cuneo of Sunshine Investigations provided extensive assistance to the defense team. Based in large part on the exceptional re-entry evaluation of SADO social worker Nicole George, on August 13, 2012, Judge Talon agreed to release the brothers on an appeal bond, pending a new trial. The hearing was extensively covered by Jim Schaefer of the Detroit Free Press and many members of the media were present the day the brothers were released, including the Detroit Free Press, WXYZ and WDIV.  The Wayne County Prosecutor's office unsuccessfully appealed Judge Talon's decision and announced on September 25, 2013 that they intend to make a motion to dismiss the charges.  On September 26, 2013 the charges were formally dismissed as reported in the Detroit Free Press.  SADO will provide links to continuing news coverage.