Man Freed After 16 Years in Prison

Wednesday, February 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has dismissed first-degree murder charges against a man who spent 16 years in prison for a crime he says he didn't commit.

Prosecutors had refiled charges against Dwight Love after his 1982 conviction was tossed out in 1997. The new case was dismissed Tuesday.

Wayne Circuit Judge Daphne Means Curtis cited delays in setting a retrial despite written requests for a speedy trial by Love's attorneys.

``There was no good reason for the delay,'' Curtis said.

Love was convicted in the September 1981 shooting of James Connelly. Love, then 21, lived just above the crime scene and had a record of drug possession and stealing.

But a homicide detective later said police had hidden evidence that could have exonerated Love. The evidence was turned over to Love's attorney in 1997.

``I don't have the words to say how I feel,'' Love told The Detroit News for Wednesday's editions. ``It's been a nightmare. I guess I can start living my life now.''

Assistant Prosecutor Todd Flood said his office would review the case before deciding whether to appeal.

Love had been serving a life sentence when a Detroit judge threw out his conviction. In 1998, a federal judge ordered him released from prison.

``Even if there are a handful of people out there like him,'' his lawyer, Sarah Hunter, said, ``how horrible that is.''