Murder case to be retried

Thomas Ricks, of Detroit, was convicted of Harper’s murder in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison.
Shawn Foucher
Feb 4, 2014


As attorneys suit up to retry a Sandusky murder case from 2008, the victim’s mother is hoping for some face-to-face time with the killer.
“Maybe he has something to tell me,” said Queen Amison, 58, of Sandusky. “I want to know what happened at the house with my son. I really do."
Amison appeared Monday in Erie County Common Pleas Court, where county prosecutor Kevin Baxter and attorneys for Thomas Ricks, 27, were sorting out details in his upcoming trial — retrial, actually — in the 2008 murder of Calvin Harper Jr.
Ricks, of Detroit, was convicted of Harper’s murder in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors have said he was hired by a drug dealer to kill Harper and rob him of $20,000 in drug money.
Ricks appealed his conviction, and higher courts recently determined hearsay had been admitted into the original trial. They sent it back to Erie County Common Pleas Court to be retried.
On Monday, Ricks’ attorney, Jeffry Kelleher, of Cleveland, told Judge Roger Binette he’s still sifting through the voluminous evidence in the case.
Baxter said he has offered Ricks a deal of 30 years to life if he pleads guilty to aggravated murder, with the possibility of parole after 30 years. Kelleher said he’s still mulling the offer, as it has some unspecified conditions attached.
Amison, Harper’s mother, said it won’t be easy to sit through another weeklong trial, but in the meantime she wants the opportunity to talk to Ricks in prison, if only to ask him what really happened to her son.
Binette said the trial, expected to last about eight days, will be scheduled at a March 17 pretrial hearing.



Praying this mother gets some answers.


Two items are legally questionable in this article. First, one can not state that Ricks is a killer because his conviction was vacated due to trial error by the judge. He is returned to pre trial status, i.e he is presumed innocent.

Second, why is the re-trial being heard by the same judge that higher courts ruled committed serious legal error (admission of hearsay evidence) sufficient to vacate the conviction?

It would be a great public service if the SR started compiling reversal rates on area judges, as well as sentence comparisons based on race, gender, and public versus private defense to aid in voting decisions. Reversals and over-sentencing cost taxpayers a lot of money and cause the public to lose respect for the judicial system.

Stop It

I think maybe you are expecting too much forensics from our local newspaper, Babo.

Julie R.

That's the first thing I wondered when I read this --- if the conviction was vacated due to trial error by the judge, why would the very same judge be hearing the re-trial?

That doesn't make a bit of sense!