Detroit man freed after conviction in 2005 killing vacated

DETROIT – A Detroit man who spent 16 years behind bars after being wrongfully convicted of fatally shooting a teenager is now a free man after a judge vacated his convictions.

WXYZ-TV reports 38-year-old Dennis Atkins walked out of a state prison Friday in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula after a Wayne County judge vacated his convictions in the 2005 murder of 17-year-old Billie Rutledge.

The teen was on a stretcher and being treated by two EMS workers for gunshot wounds when an armed man walked up and fatally shot Rutledge.

Atkins maintained his innocence and the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit re-investigated the case and pushed for his release.