After spending 16 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Dwight Love returned home to Detroit as a free man in 1998.
But he was never the same. Love suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and a pulmonary condition that left him unable to work. He received about $500 a month on disability benefits.
On Thursday evening, he was walking with his daughter outside her house on Barlow when he collapsed. His daughter, Letrisica Day, called 911, and she and a neighbor carried Love onto a couch.
That’s where he would die because it took paramedics 46 minutes to arrive.
“I don’t know what to think. I’m hysterical; I’m scared,” Day told Fox 2. “I called family friends; I called my mom. Like I said, she instructed me to feel for a heartbeat and a pulse, and I did those things. And at the time I felt one.”
Fire department officials confirmed the slow response time and said the city was operating with a full fleet of ambulances.
Love was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of James Connely, who was gunned down by would-be robbers. His conviction was based almost solely on an eye-witness who changed his story. Despite conflicting reports from other witnesses, prosecutors never presented the evidence.
Other procedural misconduct was found, and when Love was in prison, someone else confessed and said Love was not responsible. That didn’t sway prosecutors.
Finally, Love convinced a judge that his conviction was marred with errors and misconduct. Despite protests from then-Wayne County Sheriff Robert Ficano, Love was released and the charges were dismissed.
“It’s been a nightmare,” Love told the Detroit News soon after his release. “I guess I can start living my life now.”
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.