Two brothers who were wrongfully convicted of murder a quarter-century ago are now free. George DeJesus and Melvin DeJesus walked out of prison on Tuesday (3/22), greeted by family and friends.

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The DeJesus brothers were convicted for the July 1995 murder of a Pontiac woman. Authorities tell WDIV that the woman was found naked in her basement with wires binding her neck, wrists, and ankles. A pillowcase had been put over her head.

Convicted Based on Wrongful Testimony

Michigan Attorney General Dan Nessel says the brothers were wrongfully convicted based on testimony given by the real killer, Brandon Gohagen. In 1997, Gohagen confessed to sexually assaulting the woman but claimed he was forced to do so by the DeJesus brothers. He struck a plea deal to testify against both George and Melvin, resulting in their convictions.

Both brothers were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

DNA Evidence Exonerates Brothers

Nearly 30 years after the murder, Nessel's Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) used DNA evidence while working with the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, the Cooley Law School Innocence Project, and the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic to overturn the brothers' sentences.

Brothers Overwhelmed With Happiness

Both Geroge and Melvin DeJesus were elated as they were released from prison on Tuesday. Melvin DeJesus said he found it hard to hold back his emotions.

"When the judge told me I was free, I was real emotional. I tried to hold it back but I couldn’t," Melvin DeJesus said. "Tears just started coming down. I was like, man, just be strong. Sure enough, I couldn’t do it."


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