No New Trial For Man Serving Life Sentence In '86 Port Huron Death
PORT HURON (WWJ/AP) - A man serving a life sentence for a fatal shooting in a college parking lot has struck out again in his latest effort to have his conviction overturned with the help of law students.
Temujin Kensu, a man formerly known as Fred Freeman, is in prison for the death of Scott Macklem in 1986. He claims his rights were violated when jurors saw photos that appeared different than photos used in a police lineup. But at a hearing Friday, the Michigan appeals court -- for the second time -- found no fault and declined his request for a new trial.
"I have asked the Port Huron Police Department over and over again and talked to prosecutors, and they only thing they can say about Temujin Kensu and why they firmly believe that he did this crime is because they painted a picture of him being the devil incarnate before the murder," Bill Proctor, former Detroit TV reporter turned private investigator, told WWJ's Chrystal Knight.
Kensu, now 52-years-old, insists he was hundreds of miles away in Escanaba when Macklem was killed in the parking lot of St. Clair Community College.
"Around 9 in the morning, a shotgun blast killed Mr. Macklem and somehow through girlfriend connections, they looked back at a fellow named Fred Freeman," said Proctor. "The prosecutor convinced the jury that young Mr. Freeman cared enough about a girl that was engaged to Mr. Macklem, that he left Escabana some 400-plus miles away from the college campus where the murder took place -- he somehow made that trip at 9 o'clock in the morning to kill a person with a shotgun and then went back to Escanada to establish an alibi."
Proctor called the prosecution's case "the most bizarre argument ever."
"Yes, he had a lot of women. Yes, he appeared to be kind of an abusive personality. Yes, there were a couple of criminal charges, non-violent, against him. But the real bottom line here is nobody can tell me how it is he managed to do this and they, quite frankly, didn't produce real evidence in the trial."
Then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm apparently thought, however, that prosecutors did their jobs. She refused to reduce Kensu's sentence and release him back in 2010.
"All circumstantial. Never put a weapon in his hand. And now all these many years and many appeals later, we have the appeals court once again deciding that there isn't enough evidence for a new trial," said Proctor. "But a new trial has most certainly been warranted since day one. Over the years, many attorneys and some former judges have reviewed this case and have said, on the record, that this was a miscarriage of justice."
Kensu has been represented for years by the Innocence Clinic at University of Michigan law school. He's just one of hundreds of thousands of inmates who are behind bars for crimes they allegedly did not commit.
"Despite compelling proof of their failures, shortcomings and misconduct, they simply will not offer a remedy to these thousands of people who should not be punished for something they didn't do," said Proctor.
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