“For the reasons placed on the record, I hereby dismiss all charges.” Judge Kiefer Cox March 25, 2024

Judge Cox cites due process violations by police, prosecutors after failure to disclose evidence despite multiple “Brady” motions filed by Darrell Ewing 

Courtroom supporters cheer and cry; Dep. Sheriff issues only mild warning to take it outside the courtroom

WCPO says they “plan to appeal,” but does not remark specifically on ruling

By Diane Bukowski

March 25, 2024/updated March 29, 2024

DETROIT—In a stunning development today in the murder re-trial of Darrell Ewing and co-defendant Derrico Searcy, Wayne Co. 3rd Circuit Judge Kiefer Cox passionately dismissed all charges against the two.

He said the prosecution and Detroit police committed gross due process violations that made it impossible for him to conduct a fair re-trial on charges involving the 2004 murder of J.B. Watson.

Ewing walked out of the Wayne County Jail in downtown Detroit, into the arms of family and friends screaming and crying with joy. Ewing’s supporters helped him carry out boxes of legal documents kept in his jail cell.

“They just want to solve the crime to get it off the books, it’s not about getting it right,” Ewing told Mara McDonald of WDIV Channel 4 News. “This is how you get free. You have to have these—it’s all about case law. . .What I have to do now is get with the prosecutor’s office and try to usher in reforms about wrongful convictions, despite [their] rate in Detroit.”

Derrico Searcy has a case in a separate conviction pending, and remains in the Wayne County Jail.

Delmerey Morris

In that separate case, charges against Searcy’s co-defendant Delmerey Morris were vacated by WCCC Judge Miriam Bazzi March 27, subsequent to an evidentiary hearing, according to Morris’ attorney Michael Dezsi. He told  VOD that Morris’ case was overturned due to lies told by a prosecution witness. He said the ruling applied only to Morris at this time. VOD is following up with Dezsi for a story on that case.

Morris was serving a sentence of 35-50 years in that case, according to Michigan OTIS.

Darrell Ewing degree

“Regardless of what happened with Morris,” Searcy’s defense attorney Blase Kearney told VOD, “we believe Mr. Searcy is entitled to a re-sentencing on that case, because we believe the J.B. Watson murder in this case was factored into that original sentence.” He said a motion is to be filed shortly.

Ewing chose to represent himself during a year of pre-trial hearings. He studied law through 14 years of incarceration and earned a paralegal degree from the Blackstone Career Institute in the stark confines of the Jail.

Darrell Ewing (top center) embraces stand-by atty. Christopher Sinclair as he and Derrico Searcy (r) leave; other attys. shown are Blase Kearney (for Searcy), Adam Clements of Perkins Law Group (for Ewing) Insets: Searcy, Ewing embrace during ruling/VOD screenshots

Judge Cox cited dozens of hand-written motions Ewing filed since June of last year. Ewing argued that prosecutors routinely denied those motions, citing violations of Brady v. Maryland and related cases, which require the disclosure of evidence favorable to the defense.

“This Court’s not satisfied,” Judge Cox told Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Brendan Sawyer during the hearing today. “I get a motion on Friday at 4:20 pm to adjourn the trial, [about] interrogation recordings with respect to Mr. Ewing and Mr. Searcy, evidence that for months since last June when Mr. Ewing first filed his motions to compel, requested and addressed and demanded.”

Darrell Ewing (l) Derrico Searcy (r)

“Mr. Ewing stated Williams said, ‘I know you didn’t commit this crime, but If you don’t tell me who did,  he would make Mr, Ewing go down for it,’” Judge Cox continued. “This was reported to have been around the time of his arrest. [At the hearing on] March 19, I pushed back a little bit, asking did you talk to Mr. Williams, did [current OIC Lisa Johnson] speak with Mr. Williams.” (See remainder of Judge Cox’s ruling in video, box above).

Judge Cox asked defense attorneys for any motions. Attorney Adam Clements of the Perkins Law group [representing Ewing]  joined by defense attorney Blasé Kearney of Neighborhood Legal Defenders, representing Searcy, moved to dismiss all charges.

Asst. Prosecutor Brendan Sawyer withdrew a motion asking for an adjournment, but said issues could still be addressed during a trial by by curative jury instructions and a missing evidence instruction, reasoning rejected by Judge Cox. Cox said the re-trial already had been postponed multiple times.

The Wayne Co. Prosecutor’s Office told WDIV Channel Four News that they will appeal Judge Cox’s ruling.

However, VOD’s legal consultant says, “Looking to the Judge’s reasoning for his ruling, that any instructions he would give could not restore the defendant’s right to a fair trial under the Due Process clause of the United States Constitution, any success on appeal is unlikely.”

Judge Cox noted that the defendants have been waiting for the re-trial since the overturn of their convictions in 2019. During an evidentiary hearing then,  WCCC Judge Michael Hathaway ordered a new trial after an evidentiary hearing.


Below, Larry Darnell Smith, exonerated of murder charges after 26 years in prison, addresses prayer circle after the hearing March 25.

Darrell Ewing/by LaSonya Dodson

VOD Field Editor Ricardo Ferrell (r) Darrell Ewing’s mother LaSonya Dodson display Ewing’s discharge papers March 25, 2026.

Larry Smith in Tshirt celebrating victory










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************************************************************************************See previous VOD article which includes all VOD stories from the past seven years on the Ewing/Searcy case at:


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