George Hunter is a seasoned journalist at the Detroit News who has been covering crime stories for over 20 years. A Detroit Native, he is the author of many true crime novels as well as host of the popular podcast Sins of Detroit, a show that looks at wrongful convictions that started with investigations by the Detroit Police Department.


In this episode of the Open Mike Podcast, George discusses what he believes to be the worst wrongful conviction case he’s ever covered- that of Davontae Sanford. When Sanford was 14, he was arrested for a quadruple homicide he didn’t commit. Tune into this episode to hear about Davontae’s journey from arrest to release and the confession of the real killer.

Show Notes

[0:04] Introducing today’s guest, George Hunter

[1:02] What is your background and connection to Detroit, George?

[2:22] Why didn’t you become a cop like the rest of your family?

[2:38] Why did you pick journalism?

[3:49] How long have you been on the crime beat for the Detroit News?

[4:28] What is your take on federal troops offering to come into Detroit?

[6:26] Do you think that Detroit could become the next Portland?

[8:00] Are violent crimes statistically up?

[8:33] How could COVID-19 be influencing private crime?

[10:46] What is your take on Detroit Police Chief Craig?

[12:38] Do you think Chief Craig handled the Hakim Littleton Shooting well?

[14:00] What got you fixated on wrongful convictions? Check out George’s podcast Sins of Detroit!

[15:58] It’s remarkable that wrongfully convicted people aren’t always unbelievably bitter

[16:32] Are there any wrongful conviction cases that stick out in your memory?

[17:50] Davontae Sanford was wrongfully convicted of murder at age 14

[20:32] People are very often pressured into pleading guilty like Davontae was

[23:42] How many people have Valerie Newman and the Conviction Integrity Unit gotten out of prison?

[24:06] George’s website on Davontae Sanford

[24:10] Talking about the case of Vincent Smothers who committed the crime Sanford was accused of

[28:19] How many years was Davontae Sanford in prison?

[31:02] Who was Davontae Sanford’s lawyer?

[34:10] How did Davontae’s case get picked up by the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic?

[35:47] Was Kym Worthy the prosecutor during the Davontae Sanford case?

[37:16] How many innocent people are sitting in prison right now?

[38:29] Check out Davontae Sanford’s Road to Freedom here!

[39:33] Vincent Smother’s killing of Rose Cobb

[41:50] Watch Mike’s interviews with John Sheav and Chantá Parker

[42:20] Do you think that our criminal justice and defense systems are getting better?

[44:40] Watch Mike’s interview with Kenny Wyniemko

[48:08] Is the Detroit Police Department going to keep using facial recognition and Project Greenlight?

[54:05] Are people complaining about project greenlight or is it stores?

[57:03] Check out George’s books!

[59:04] Thank you for watching this episode of the Open Mike Podcast!

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