HomeUS News updateMichigan asks judge to release man in slayings of 2 hunters

Michigan asks judge to release man in slayings of 2 hunters

DETROIT – The state of Michigan asked a judge Wednesday to release a man who has served nearly 21 years of life in prison for the fatal shootings of two hunters, saying there was more information about the Ohio serial killer’s possible role. Important evidence was never shared before the trial.

The Attorney General’s office said in a court filing that Jeff Titus’ rights had been violated in 2002 by withholding information.

Titus, 71, will be entitled to a new trial, although it is likely that authorities in southwestern Michigan will drop the case.

Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Gatting said he supports Titus’ release from prison, but would not comment until US District Judge Paul Borman makes a decision.

It’s an extraordinary turnaround for Titus, whose claims of innocence have been led for years by the University of Michigan Law School’s Innocence Clinic.

Doug Estes and Jim Bennett were fatally shot near Titus’ rural property in 1990, though they were not charged for more than a decade.

Authorities at the time acknowledged that Titus was hunting in another county on the day of the shooting. But he insisted that he still got home in time to kill the men as trespassers.

In 2019, the attorney general’s convictions unit agreed to look into Titus’ case after he lost a string of appeals in state courts.

Months later, David Moran, who runs the Innocence Clinic, made a surprising discovery at the county sheriff’s office: a 30-page file from the original investigation that referred to an alternate suspect, Thomas Dillon of Magnolia, Ohio.

The information was never shared with Titus’s trial attorney or local prosecutors.

“Dillon was a serial killer who was convicted of killing numerous hunters and outsiders,” Assistant Attorneys General John Pallas and Moran said in a joint filing.

“She was arrested in 1993 and ultimately pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree murder in Ohio in order to avoid the death penalty,” he added.

The state collected other information about Dillon, who died in 2011 at age 61. It was revealed that the FBI had surveilled him and found that he would travel hundreds of miles from his Ohio home.

Dillon’s Ohio prison cellmate indicated that Dillon had killed two hunters “in a county where no one could prove he was,” the state said.

The state said the declassified file also revealed a woman and her son taken to Ohio by investigators identified Dillon as the man in a car in a ditch near the scene of the murder.

Questions about Titus’ guilt and Dillon’s possible role were reported extensively in 2020 and 2021 by “Undeclared,” a podcast about wrongful convictions, and by the TV network Investigation Discovery.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments