Wrongly convicted brothers released after 25 years in prison

Mar 22, 2022, 8:02 AM | Updated: 12:46 pm

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Two Michigan brothers who were wrongfully convicted in the murder of a family friend walked free Tuesday and were reunited with their family after 25 years behind bars.

George and Melvin DeJesus were convicted in the 1995 killing of Margaret Midkiff. Oakland County Circuit Judge Martha Anderson set aside their convictions early Tuesday.

“I wish to apologize for the actions taken by your fellow citizens against you,” Anderson said. “Twenty-five years of your life has been taken from you that cannot be replaced.”

The brothers later embraced family members — and met some for the first time — at a restaurant in Lansing.

Asked what’s next for the brothers, Melvin DeJesus said it would be a collective decision.

“I believe it’s going to be a family meeting, a get-together to see what’s next on our agenda as free men, because we was kids when we came in and now we’re men,” DeJesus said, gesturing to his daughter to join him and to his brother at the front of the room.

He credited his mother in particular for never letting them lose hope, saying he never doubted that one day they would be free.

Midkiff was sexually assaulted and slain in her home in Pontiac, Michigan, in July 1995. She was found bound with wire and with a pillow over her head.

A year later, DNA from the scene was matched to Brandon Gohagen. Assistant Attorney General Robyn Frankel said Tuesday that no DNA was ever discovered that connected the DeJesus brothers to the crime.

Gohagen testified at trial in 1997 that the brothers forced him to sexually assault Midkiff, and that they killed her. George and Melvin DeJesus were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, while Gohagen was convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

But Gohagen acted alone, Frankel said.

She said she believes Gohagen sexually assaulted at least 12 women in the 1990s, including Rosalia Brantley, a 22-year-old woman whose dead body was found rolled up in a curtain in a park in 1994. Gohagen was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2017.

The Attorney General’s Conviction Integrity Unit, led by Frankel, found witnesses who corroborated the alibis that the brothers presented at trial and discovered that Gohagen had failed a pretrial polygraph test that was instrumental in the case.

In Oakland County Court on Tuesday morning, the DeJesus brothers expressed their sympathy for Midkiff’s family and said they hope their families can meet on good terms.


Anna Liz Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Nichols reported from Lansing.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

N. Carolina church says it lost nearly $800K in email scam

ELKIN, N.C. (AP) — Leaders of a northwestern North Carolina church say cybercriminals stole nearly $800,000 that the congregation spent years raising to build a new sanctuary that’s supposed to be completed in a few months. It happened in November when Elkin Valley Baptist Church received an email that mimicked another message from the sanctuary […]
16 hours ago
A migrant from Michoacan, Mexico, uses the CBPOne app Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in Tijuana, Mexico. A...
Associated Press

Online system to seek asylum in US is quickly overwhelmed

A mobile app for migrants to seek asylum in the United States has been overwhelmed since it was introduced this month.
16 hours ago
Associated Press

TV anchors T.J. Holmes, Amy Robach leave ABC amid romance

NEW YORK (AP) — T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach, anchors at the afternoon extension of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” are leaving the network after their romance was reported in November. The pair were taken off the air and placed on temporary hiatus after photos surfaced of them holding hands and spending time together. Both were […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Delaware Gov. John Carney tests positive for COVID-19

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Delaware Gov. John Carney has tested positive for COVID-19, the governor’s office announced on Saturday. Carney tested positive late Friday using an at-home antigen test after experiencing mild symptoms, according to a news release. Carney, 66, said he’s “feeling fine” and is isolating himself — following U.S. Centers for Disease Control […]
16 hours ago
FILE - FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan federal court on Jan. 3, 2023, in New York, a...
Associated Press

FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, DOJ tussle over his communications

Federal prosecutors are trying to prohibit FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried from privately contacting current and former employees of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange to prevent potential witness tampering in a criminal case accusing him of bilking investors and customers. The request, made in a letter filed late Friday by U.S. Justice Department lawyers, prompted an indignant […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Challenge for Tunisian democracy: Getting voters to show up

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia was once the Arab world’s hope for a new era of democracy. Now it’s in the midst of an election that’s more of an embarrassment than a model. Barely 11% of voters turned out in the first round of parliamentary elections last month, boycotted by opposition Islamists and ignored by […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Wrongly convicted brothers released after 25 years in prison