Ex­on­er­ated man fights to re­gain rep­u­ta­tion

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY FRAN­CIS X. DON­NELLY The Detroit News

Con­stan­tine – For eight years, res­i­dents of this small town thought one of their own was a mur­derer. They be­lieved Ray McCann had sex­u­ally as­saulted and suf­fo­cated an 11-year-old girl in 2007.

Peo­ple who had known Ray McCann his whole life be­gan to avoid him. Mem­bers of his own fam­ily turned on him. He was ar­rested and served 20 months in prison for al­legedly ly­ing to po­lice dur­ing the mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

But the town’s sus­pi­cion was based on a pack of lies, his at­tor­neys said. And the peo­ple who told those lies were the po­lice, who claimed they had ev­i­dence link­ing McCann to the crime.

McCann was cleared in 2015 when an­other man con­fessed to the mur­der.

By that time, his rep­u­ta­tion was in tat­ters. Af­ter liv­ing his whole life in this western Michi­gan com­mu­nity 30 miles south of Kala­ma­zoo, he has fled to an­other town. But the stigma has fol­lowed.

“I lost ev­ery­thing. I lost ev­ery­thing I had,” he said. “I still don’t un­der­stand how it hap­pened.”

McCann wants to sal­vage his im­age by hav­ing a judge set aside the per­jury con­vic­tion and grant him a new trial. He said the ev­i­dence was as bo­gus as the proof po­lice claimed to have in the mur­der.

Dur­ing a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing in 2014, a de­tec­tive with the Michi­gan State Po­lice said McCann lied about go­ing to a path lead­ing to a dam dur­ing his search for vic­tim Jodi Par­rack. Video from a sur­veil­lance cam­era at a nearby cream­ery showed McCann never ap­peared at the path, Det. Bryan Fuller tes­ti­fied.

But, in an af­fi­davit filed by McCann’s at­tor­neys in June, the cream­ery man­ager said the cam­era wasn’t pointed at the path.

A hear­ing on McCann’s bid to clear his name will be held Dec. 15 at St. Joseph County Cir­cuit Court in

Katy Bat­dorff / Special to The Detroit News

Ray McCann says po­lice lied when they said ev­i­dence showed he sex­u­ally as­saulted and killed Jodi Par­rack, 11, in 2007. Next month, he will ask a judge to clear his record of per­jury counts he served jail time for in the case.

Ray McCann served time for per­jury in the case of Jodi Par­rack, left. Daniel Fur­long, right, even­tu­ally

con­fessed to killing her.

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