Charges Dropped Against Battle Creek Man After 21 Years in Prison
Titus, 71, was released from prison in February. Kalamazoo County prosecutor Jeff Getting has since reviewed the case to determine that a second trial for Titus will not be necessary.
“I don’t know who ultimately murdered Mr. Estes and Mr. Bennett,” Getting said via the AP. “But I can say with 100% absolute certainty that moving forward with a trial now against Mr. Titus would be absolutely lacking the fundamental fairness that our constitution requires.”
"You can put me on the rack, the truth serum, whatever. I did not do it. ... I did not shoot those people,” Titus said at a press conference via the AP.
Titus had originally been cleared of murder charges in 1990, but when the case was reopened in 2002 and a different verdict was reached. The hunters, Doug Estes and Jim Bennett, were shot and killed near Titus' property while Titus was roughly 27 miles away on his own hunting trip. There was never physical evidence against Titus.
The Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan discovered a file from the initial investigation that referenced another suspect, Thomas Dillon. Dillon has since passed away, dying in 2011 in prison after pleading guilty to killing five people in Ohio in 1993.
Sherrif's investigators of Kalamazoo County never relayed to Titus' lawyer of the evidence against Dillon.
Titus is “actually innocent,” his attorney, Mary Chartier, said via the AP. “Mr. Titus can do a lot of things. But he can’t be in two places at once. He could not have committed these murders.”
Through a state program that serves the wrongfully imprisoned, Titus could be granted up to $1 million in reimbursement.