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Law School project helps free man after 32 years

Gilbert Poole was convicted for the murder of Robert Meija in the summer of 1989.
Credit: WMU-Cooley Law School

LANSING, Mich. — Wednesday, Oakland County Circuit Judge Rae Lee Chabot set aside the conviction of Gilbert Lee Poole, Jr. who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1989. 

Poole was represented by Marla Mitchell-Cichon of the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Innocence Project (WMU-Cooley Innocence Project).  

On June 7, 1988, the body of Robert Meija was found hear a running trail in Pontiac, Michigan. Investigation showed that Meija had been stabbed to death. He was last seen at a bar in Pontiac, where several witnesses provided a description of a man who was with Meija when he left the bar. After composite drawings yielded no leads the case went cold. Until November of 1988, when Poole's then girlfriend implicated Poole in the murder.

“I have to say that I didn’t understand what was happening back in 1988 when I came to court to be tried for a murder I didn’t commit. At 22 years old, and a thousand miles away from anyone I knew, I kicked and screamed and stomped my feet and said this is not right,” Poole said during the hearing. 

“This case serves as an example of the important work being done by our Conviction Integrity Unit,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. 

Gilbert Poole was wrongly imprisoned for 32 years.

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