Fireworks Shooting Suspect Back in Court

By John Klekamp
Web produced by Christine Lasek

September 1, 2004

The man accused of shooting 9 people in Hart Plaza was back in court Wednesday, and learned he will stand trial for a new charge of murder.

Daron Caldwell insists that he didn’t shoot anyone, and his mother believes him. His mother told 7 Action News, "I’m absolutely convinced. There is no doubt in my mind."

But earlier this month, the man accused of shooting 9 people during the Freedom Fest Fireworks show was back in court. The prosecutors wanted to amend the charges against Caldwell to include an account of murder.

Donald Murphy, one of the shooting victims, died several weeks after the highly publicized shooting.

Wayne Co. Prosecutors stated, "The cause of death was the gunshot wound, and for those reasons, based on the court rule, we ask this court to re-man for the limited purpose of amending the information to add a count of murder in the 2nd degree."

The judge granted the request, clearing the way for Caldwell to face a possible life sentence if convicted of the more serious charge.

But Action News investigators have uncovered conflicting statements, a false police report, and witness testimony that casts doubt on the case against Caldwell.

Caldwell’s mother is convinced that concern over the city’s image fueled a hasty investigation and a rush to judgment.

"It’s politics because of so many other events they want to happen in the city of Detroit," Caldwell’s mother told 7 Action News. "So they have to build the image again before these events can take place. But don’t build it on my son’s back."

Witnesses have testified that the police do not have the right man in custody, and don't believe that Caldwell is the shooter.

But on August 19th, the last time that Caldwell was in court, the Wayne Co. prosecutors' office released a statement expressing confidence that they do indeed have the right man.

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