A change of story by a witness has resulted in the dismissal of charges against six men in Saginaw. The 19-year-old man appeared in court on July 7 and proceeded to contradict previous information reportedly given to investigators in connection with his being beaten in a jail cell two months earlier. The alleged beating was attributed to the man's providing information to authorities in a different case involving himself and one of the six defendants.
During the hearing, the 19-year-old's grandmother appeared as a witness, indicating that she found evidence of threats against her grandson on Facebook. She reportedly provided printed copies of the threats to the local prosecutor, but the alleged assault had already occurred at that point. The man followed his grandmother on the witness stand, and his testimony initially appeared cooperative as he acknowledged that one of the defendants named was a relative. However, his testimony changed as he indicated that he did not see the relative in court when he was asked to identify him. He additionally noted that he had never seen the other individuals charged and did not remember who was involved in the attack. As the prosecutor reviewed details related to the alleged incident, the man continued to provide conflicting testimony.
Charges were dismissed against the six defendants because of the turn in the man's testimony. The men had been charged with intimidation of a witness, potentially facing maximum sentences in excess of 10 years each. Although the prosecutor's office intends to explore the possibility of perjury charges against the witness, doubt is expressed about the likelihood of pursuing such charges. The young man, meanwhile, still faces charges in connection with the criminal case that landed him in jail in the first place.
Someone in a similar situation may want to consult with a lawyer moving forward. A lawyer may offer strategies for addressing intimidation concerns.
Source: MLive, "Witness assault charges dropped for 6 men after Saginaw jail inmate recants story", Andy Hoag, July 08, 2014