Huffpost Crime

Raymond Highers, Thomas Highers Get New Trial Because Of Facebook Post

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Associated Press
Associated Press

A Facebook post helped get a new trial for two brothers serving life in prison for the 1987 murder of a Detroit drug dealer.

But even though Raymond and Thomas Highers' conviction was overturned, they aren't free from prison yet.

A judge decided yesterday that the Highers, both 46, must wait until Aug. 15 -- after he has reviewed documents about their behavior as inmates -- before deciding if he'll end their 24-year imprisonment, the Detroit News reported.

The brothers have maintained that they didn't shoot Robert Karey, an elderly marijuana dealer, at the backdoor of his home.

A woman's 2009 Facebook post lamenting that the Highers brothers would spend their lives in jail started a chain reaction that's given them hope. Mary Evans' words circulated and eventually prompted a group of friends from high school to step forward and say they were at Karey's house when he got shot.

In court last week, two witnesses testified that they saw two black men shoot Karey, ABC News reported.

That's important, because the Highers are white. Eight other witnesses testified in the hearing.

The Detroit Free Press reported that family members broke down in tears when Wayne County Circuit Judge Lawrence Talon postponed releasing Raymond and Thomas.

"You want them to come home. I want to see them sitting in the passenger seat of my car," said their younger brother Scott. "Another second of them sitting here [in jail] is too long."

Both brothers have had dozens of misconduct citations in jail, according to the Detroit News, for things like assault and battery and substance abuse.

They've both missed out on raising their children and were prevented from attending the funerals of Thomas' daughter who died as a teenager and their mother, the Detroit News said.

“It’s really hard. It’s something that I’ve prayed for since I was a little girl and it’s gonna happen, but it’s hard to wait this long knowing that they just keep going back and going back,” their niece Raeanne Highers said to a CBS affiliate. “Something has to be done.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version incorrectly referred to Raymond Highers as Richard Highers in one instance. We regret the error.