Those in the Free Richard Wershe Jr. aka White Boy Rick camp thought their prayers had been answered when a judge ordered that the infamous Detroit street icon be resentenced on September 18, 2015 after spending almost 28 years in prison for a non-violent drug offense. It looked like White Boy Rick was finally going home after numerous setbacks and attempts by celebrities such as Kid Rock to get him out.
But the latest hopes have been dashed as the Wayne County prosecutors office objected the resentencing to Michigan’s Court of Appeals, who put a stay on the matter, keeping White Boy Rick’s freedom in doubt. And finally they slammed the door shut by denying him his opportunity to be resentenced.
The continuing saga of White Boy Rick has been an intriguing one as media reports have labeled him a Cocaine Cowboy , a victim of political corruption and numerous outlets have questioned why White Boy Rick is still serving life in prison.
His story has gone viral over the last month with every major news agency running pieces on him, interviewing writers, former law enforcement officials and lawyers associated with him and his plight. Almost overnight he has become the cause celebre, the poster child of what is wrong with the War On Drugs and the handling of informants. Hollywood has even joined the fray with not one, but three major studios, with films in the works. After his long incarceration it seems that Rick’s ordeal has to come to an end soon. Maybe not this year, but it will all be over soon. The court of appeals denied his claims, but he is appealing to Michigan’s Supreme Court. Will justice finally be served? And what can Rick expect when he is finally released?
“I think it will probably be somewhat overwhelming for him coming out, he’s been forgotten about for 30 years and all of a sudden he’s a celebrity again. He’s going from infamous to famous. The upcoming movie will only up the ante. He’ll be overjoyed when he finally walks and but he’ll also have some major adjustments to make.” Scott Burnstien, a Detroit writer and personal friend of Rick who has long covered the story, tells Gorilla Convict. “He hasn’t taken a piss or ate a meal without asking for permission since the 1980s, so as much as he longs for freedom, he’ll have some getting used to, too.”
Even Rick doesn’t really know what to expect upon release.
“The world has changed so much I don’t really no want to expect.” Rick says by phone from the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee, Michigan. “I want to hang out with my grand kids. I want to visit my grandparents grave. I want to visit my friends grave. I want to hang out with my kids. Take my lawyers out to dinner. Hang out with Scott Franklin and my friends that have stuck by me, my real friends. I want to hold a smart phone in my hand and see if I can figure out how to work it.”
Because Rick went to prison in 1988, before the advent of cellphones, tablets, laptops and even the Internet. When he was out last Nintendo, Commodore 64 and Sony Walkmans were all the rage technology wise. CDs hadn’t even come out yet in 1988. Rick will enter a changed in foreign world but his friends who’ve supported him expect him to succeed upon his eventual release.
“I expect great things from Rick. It will take some time for him to become acclimated back into society but he has all the tools, skills and the right attitude to make it go more smoothly.” Dave Majkowski, Rick’s life long friend and the person who runs the Free Rick Wershe Facebook page, tells Gorilla Convict. “He’ll need to take baby steps and he’ll need space (away from the media or anyone looking for a story). It’ll be a learning process for him. Proper support, encouragement and counseling will aide in the transition on reentry. He’s been waiting for freedom his whole adult life so he’s ready to make the journey back.”
Imagine spending close to 30 years in prison and then trying to reacclimate back to society. But it can be done and Rick is eager to get started but has doubts about Michigan letting him go.
“I am quick learner. I will figure things out.” Rick tells Gorilla Convict. “I really wont believe that I am getting out of prison until the day that I walk out of prison. Thank God I finally got a judge that had the backbone to stand up and say that I deserve to be resentenced and she is going to consider all the mitigating factors and my age. Everybody keeps saying oh you’re gonna get out, you’re gonna get out and then I have that stupid thing in Florida that I was put in the middle of and have to deal with. They are trying to get it straight but I might have to go down there for a minute.”
The Florida case stemmed from Rick’s time in the federal Witsec Program, where incarcerated witnesses are held in the Bureau of Prisons. He was involved in a stolen car ring with another notorious crack era gangster, Lorenzo “Fat Cat’ Nichols he was imprisoned with, that was shipping cars from Florida up to Detroit and the East Coast. Florida has stated their intent to come and get him when his Michigan time ends.
“If I get down to Florida people can come see me.” Rick tells Gorilla Convict. “I just want to get out from under the thumb of correction from this state. I am trying to get a lawyer down there and the judge in Florida said it can be fixed with a motion. The retired FBI agent said he would drive down to talk the judge.”
To White Boy Rick anything would be better then staying under the oppressive and corrupt yolk of his Michigan keepers.
“In terms of Florida, there’s a good chance he’ll be forced to go down there following the issue in Michigan being resolved and do his sentence for the stolen car case, which is 2-to-5 years. That’s what Florida is saying right now.” Scott Burnstien tells Gorilla Convict. “I’m sure Wayne County called the prosecutors down there and begged them to come up here and get him.
“That’s just the way it is. Wayne County wants him to stay locked up the rest of his life. For whatever the reason, they have a vendetta against him and are intent on scapegoating him for all of the city’s problems in the crack era, problems that he personally played a relatively small role in when compared to his reputation. It’s sad, reprehensible and the kind of thing that shouldn’t happen or be tolerated in America.”
But it is happening and White Boy Rick, despite the media attention, despite the injustice, despite the Hollywood movie interest remains incarcerated.
“It’s been way too long. I can’t imagine what it will finally be like. He deserves to have his life back. He deserves to have a second chance.” His mother Darlene tells Gorilla Convict. “He’ll have a lot of people paying attention to him, some people might want to hurt him, so that will always be something he’ll have to be aware of. I just want him to come home, but there are those who don’t and only God knows why. He was a kid, now he’s a middle-aged man. Enough is enough.”
And the main person standing in the way of White Boy Rick’s freedom is Wayne Country prosecutor Kym Worthy. She keeps blocking his release at every opportunity.
“This prosecutor in Detroit she says she believes in honesty and integrity in the justice system.” Rick tells Gorilla Convict. “She doesn’t even believe in our nation’s Supreme Court. They said no juvenile should have life for anything other than murder and she is fighting me getting out of prison. I have been in here 28 years. I don’t know what to say about the lady. I have to believe that this lady has some personal vendetta against me for something I did. So you’re telling me thats not because I put those cops in prison?”
Rick is still being punished by the city of Detroit for testifying against and exposing one of the biggest police corruption scandals in our country that led all the way up to the mayor. But that was over 25 years ago, like his mother said, when is enough enough?
“He’s got an excellent chance at the Supreme Court.” Scott Burnstien tells Gorilla Convict. “I believe the law will prevail, he’s entitled to be resentenced according to the law. The Supreme Court will eventually allow Judge Hathaway to give him time served, which is unquestionably the right, just and ethical thing to do at this time. His new case judge wants to re-sentence him to time served. The prosecutor is fighting it big-time. The Court of Appeals denied it but the Supreme Court will do what’s right.”
So it is a waiting game and the world is asking why isn’t White Boy Rick out? His story has caused an international media frenzy even before the movies have been released. And as the world asks the hard questions, the media is working overtime sensationalizing the whole affair. But with all the hoopla Rick is just thinking of the simple things he will do when he gets out.
“I want to go into a Costco. I want to walk through one of those Costco’s. I’ve never been in a Walmart.” Rick tells Gorilla Convict. “I saw my sone doing an interview and like my son said on there I wasn’t ever able to be a real father to him but I now I might be able to be a grandfather to my grand kids and I look so forward to taking them to amusement parks and movies and doing stuff with them. Just going to see things that I haven’t been able to. Its weird but one of the places that I really want to go is like Bell Isle, an Isle in Detroit that I haven’t been to in 29 years. I want to go see a Tigers game at Comerica I want to go to Ford Field and see a Lions game.Things have changed so much I just want to see how everything has changed because being in here for 28 years the way I equate it is almost being like you’re dead but you got to see the whole world grow up around you, and you got to see people grow old, and you got to see things but you never got to experience it. You just got to see it from the inside out.”
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