The Associated Press reports that a man has been released from prison after charges from a 2003 murder were dismissed in court. Aaron Salter, 36, of Detroit, served 15 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. He was released on Wednesday, which happened to be his birthday.
Salter’s case was reviewed and it was determined he was mistakenly identified by eyewitnesses, so the prosecutor dismissed the charges against him.
When he left the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Michigan, he was headed to a cookout with his family in Detroit.
Salter was convicted in 2003 by jury trial of first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and using a firearm during a felony. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
When the Federal Defender Office investigators took a closer look at his case, they found previously undisclosed evidence and witnesses who confirmed Salter’s alibi. This caused the Conviction Integrity Unit in the prosecutor’s office to take another look.
On August 6, 2003, Willie Thomas, 36, and three others were sitting on a porch at 1:30 a.m. when two men fired shots through a privacy fence at them. Thomas was killed and two others were wounded.
One of the victims testified that Salter was one of the shooters, but it was later discovered that the victim only caught a fleeting glimpse of the shooter through a small space, all while trying to flee the scene.
Police were also told the assailant was 5’7” and between 150 to 170 pounds. Salter is 6’3” and 250 pounds. Salter’s alibi was that he was visiting family at home during break from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Salter did not testify at his trial, but says he wanted to.
The Michigan appeals court affirmed the conviction in 2005.
Salter is pursuing a claim worth $730,000 for his wrongful conviction. The prosecutor’s office says they will recommend he receive compensation.
*Photo credit The Associated Press