Saturday, 8 December 2007

What's Next For Michael McCormick?

John Pless
December 6, 2007 - 5:26 PM

What does a man who spent more than 15 years on death row do, if he becomes a free man after years of appeals?

That and so many other questions are what Michael Lee McCormick is facing, after a jury finds him not guilty of murder during a second trial.

McCormick is the first death row inmate to be exonerated in Tennessee since the death penalty was re-instated back in 1978. On a national level, he is the 125th death row inmate to see freedom. Compare that to the 7,000 or so who were executed in the same time.

The odds are that McCormick won't remain a free man. Inmate studies show that two-thirds of people released from prison are re-arrested for another crime within three years. Most of them within six months of release.

"You know, it's got to be a culture shock to get out, 22 years later," according to Chattanooga Police sergeant Rick Micney.

Mincey and his fellow officers deal with people like McCormick every day - people who have been institutionalized in a prison getting food, clothes, medicine and a place to stay.

"We see these guys out here on the street, they get out of prison and they really don't know what to do, they have trouble finding jobs, whatever," Mincey said.

Who will hire a man once on death row for murder? Who will rent an apartment to such a man? How will he get expensive psychoactive drugs that taxpayers have paid for during the years to keep him stable? And where will McCormick stay, since he hasn't had any real family to speak of?

The only person we saw in court during the second trial on behalf of McCormick is Christine Nation.

"We prayed and prayed and asked God when we found out about him - he's my husband's half brother - if God pleases, if he didn't do it, send somebody to get him out of there. He got his answered prayer and He doesn't fail," Nation said after the verdict was read Wednesday.

McCormick did marry a woman while in prison, but she divorced him.

The odds of someone released from prison returning are even greater if they have alcohol or drug dependencies, which testimony shows McCormick does. In fact when McCormick was released on bond to await a second trial, police caught him with marijuana in July 2004.

He was in jail since then.

McCormick is scheduled to be back in court for the misdemeanor drug charge December 17.

But a lot has changed in Chattanooga, and the world, in the last 20 years. So can McCormick handle that, considering all he's experienced?

"He's been found not guilty and exonerated. Now he hasn't been vindicated because he can't get his 20 years back," attorney Mike Richardson said.


Anonymous said...

I know what's next for him. I was at the original trial when all the evidence was allowed to be presented. His guilt is not a question for those of us at the first trial when it had not been decades since Jenannie was slaughtered. How good witnesses are after 20 something years obviously is. Short of confessing his sins, taking resonsibility for them, and asking for forgiveness- what's next for him is burning in hell. To Jeannie's family-please remember Jeannie is with Jesus and her Mom!
A friend of Jeannie's

Anonymous said...

Michael is a good man who did not commmit this crime. He spent too much of his life in prison for a crime that he didn't commit as it is. why don't you people just leave him alone and let him move on with his life in peace. You are the ones who should be apologizing and confessing to the sin of judging someone on something that you have nothing to base it on. He lost enough. I'm sorry that this happened to her but just because you want him to be guilty doesn't make it so.
-friend of michael's

Anonymous said...

The first trial had his confession. It was not allowed in the second BECAUSE he was shown by his defense to be a habitual liar. So the jury never heard the confession. There was not enough evidence left to convict him again after all the years and the confession was not allowed to be played for the jury. I HEARD the confession. And so did the first jury-which put him on death row. The dumb hair did not. The confession was chilling and evil. I do not "want" him to be guilty. I wish noone was guilty of putting a bullet in the brain of a 22 year old young woman just because she found the stuff her brother and McCormick had stolen from the college. But noone who heard the confession will EVER have any doubt. He can move on to whatever-he was not convicted in his second trial. He was not, however, exonerated, by any means. I imagine he will move on to his next victim sooner or later. But that is his choice now I guess. Have fun being his friend, UGH. As for being sorry this happened to a young woman, his taped confession said all that needed to ever be said about that-he called her every vile name in the book. I don't have any need to judge him and his being in prison or dead will never bring her back. If I am wrong and he is innocent, then he can tell God that on judgement day. Her entire pharmacy school class can't wait to see it!

Anonymous said...

Two years after the slaying, an undercover police officer secretly recorded McCormick's confession when the officer set up several phony car thefts and then proposed to McCormick that they work together on a murder contract in Knoxville.

Juror Anita Jinnette, 45, said most jurors were in agreement to acquit when they began six hours of deliberations over two days. McCormick's reputation as a liar was important.

Not guilty verdict on a man who was perfectly willing to kill again and but never mind his confession because he has such a reputation as a LIAR. Although, the only possible motive for his lying in his confession was so that he could MURDER AGAIN for money…”good man”, eh? I’d rather be friends with Manson.