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Raymond McCann II

Other Michigan Exonerations with Innocence Organization Involvement
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On November 8, 2007, 11-year-old Jodi Parrack went missing in Constantine, Michigan, prompting many of the town’s 2,000 residents to begin searching for her. The only police officers involved in the search were Constantine Police Officer Marc Donker and Raymond McCann II, a 40-year-old reserve police officer.

At one point, Donker asked McCann to meet him at the path to Tumble Dam. When McCann arrived, however, Donker was not there. McCann would later say he called Donker, who told him to come to the police station, and they continued searching from there.

Later that night, McCann suggested to the girl’s mother, Valerie Jo Gilson, that people search the Constantine Township cemetery—one of the few places that had yet to be searched. Not long after, Gilson found her daughter’s body in the cemetery. She had been strangled and sexually assaulted.

Because of his suggestion to search the cemetery, McCann became a suspect in Jodi’s death. Over the next eight years, he would be the focus of intense scrutiny. During that time, police variously told him—falsely—that his DNA was found on Jodi’s body, that Jodi’s DNA was found in his truck, and that the evidence against him was insurmountable. The police told McCann’s wife he had been unfaithful. They told his son that McCann visited online chat rooms seeking to have sex with men and that he used drugs, prompting McCann’s son at one point to say he was afraid of going home.

From the discovery of the body in 2007 until September 2012, McCann was interviewed at least 20 times and submitted to more than eight hours of videotaped interrogations. He denied involvement in the crime at least 86 times. At one point, he said that if they were going to arrest him, he hoped they would keep looking for the real killer.

In 2011, the Michigan State Police’s cold case unit joined the investigation and ramped up pressure on McCann. They developed a strategy aimed at getting him to confess to the murder by accusing him of another crime. As a result, in September 2012, St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough subpoenaed McCann to answer questions under oath.

In July 2014, McCann was charged with five counts of committing perjury during the investigation of a murder. Each count carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The prosecution’s evidence relating to four of the perjury counts were the recollections of individuals, including police and Jodi’s mother, which conflicted with McCann’s testimony about what he remembered. The fifth charge was based on a surveillance video that the prosecution claimed showed that McCann lied about going to the Tumble Dam path the night Jodi’s body was discovered.

At a preliminary hearing, State Police detective Bryan Fuller testified that he had watched the video, which had been recorded by a surveillance camera at a nearby creamery. Fuller testified that the video showed that McCann had not, as he had claimed, gone to the Tumble Dam path to meet Officer Marc Donker.

On February 11, 2015, after being in jail for nearly a year, McCann entered a no-contest plea to the perjury charge that was based on the surveillance video. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison. In the meantime, he lost his job, his wife divorced him, and his son cut ties with him.

In August 2015, 65-year-old Daniel Furlong was arrested in White Pigeon, Michigan, about five miles north of Constantine. He was accused of luring a 10-year-old girl into his garage, but the girl managed to flee and summon police. After police matched his DNA to DNA from Jodi’s body, Furlong confessed that he killed her and left her body in the cemetery. Furlong, who said he thought he was “in the clear” because of the focus on McCann, pled guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

McCann received credit for the 11 months he spent in jail prior to his conviction and was released on parole in December 2015.

In 2017, after he completed his parole, the Michigan Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Conviction at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law filed a motion for relief from judgment on his behalf. The motion sought to vacate his perjury conviction on the ground the Furlong’s confession proved McCann’s innocence.

The motion also noted that an examination of the surveillance video showed that the detective had testified falsely when he claimed that the video showed McCann never went to the Tumble Dam path. The motion claimed that McCann’s lawyer at the time had failed to investigate the video.

In fact, the footage that the detective said he viewed was too dark to make out any vehicle. More importantly, the camera showed a different street than the one McCann would have travelled. Michigan Innocence Clinic law students used Google street view and maps of the area, as well as previously unreleased daytime footage from the same camera to show that the camera was facing an area about a block away from the Tumble Dam path.

On December 7, 2017, after Prosecutor McDonough watched the video, he agreed to the motion to vacate McCann’s conviction and dismissed the charges.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 12/11/2017
State:Michigan
County:St. Joseph
Most Serious Crime:Perjury
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2012
Convicted:2015
Exonerated:2017
Sentence:1 year and 8 months
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:45
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct, Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No