'White Boy Rick' granted parole by MI prison officials

Fernando Stephens
July 16, 2017

The 10-member Michigan Parole Board voted unanimously to release Richard Wershe Jr. during a closed-door meeting today, but the 47-year-old prisoner may not gain his freedom for years, officials said.

In June, Wershe told parole board members that he's been rehabilitated and knows drugs destroy communities.

Wersche said last month that he wanted to lead a simple life and spend time with his family if he was granted parole.

Richard Wershe, an inmate at the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee, declined an interview request from the Free Press, prison officials said. He's expected to portray Wershe's father in a movie about the convict's life.

'I'd like to see them and see my kids and grandkids, check on my mom and try and get back to whatever normal life I can and make it as normal as I can'.

Wershe still owes 22 months to the state of Florida after credit for his time served, but his attorney Ralp Musilli is going to ask Florida officials to change the sentence to concurrent instead of consecutive, which would mean his time in MI prison would count for the time owed in Florida. Then he will have to serve an additional 22 months in a Florida prison in a separate case involving a stolen vehicle scheme, the Free Press reported.

Now, Wershe can be released as early as mid-August from the Michigan Department of Corrections system.

Florida officials will be informed of his anticipated release and responsible for making arrangements for his transfer to serve the 5-year sentence there.

Wershe pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering charges in 2006 and was sentenced to five years in prison.

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McConaughey spent several hours in the MI prison speaking with Wershe earlier this year and offered to help him get back on his feet once he was released.

The hearing last month spanned more than four hours and Wershe answered many questions about his life, including telling the panel he started working as a law enforcement informant when he was 14.

It started small, he said, with Wershe giving Federal Bureau of Investigation agents the identities of people in pictures and grew from there.

He said he cried when he got the news.

A plea agreement in the case said prosecutors agreed not to file charges against Wershe's sister or mother in connection with the case. Groman has fought for the Wershe's freedom over the years and said he was "elated" by the parole board's decision. He came up and said he wanted to meet me.

At the time of his sentencing in 1988, the drug crimes he committed carried a mandatory life sentence. The decision was reversed by the Michigan Court of Appeals after the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office appealed and argued that Hathaway's ruling was "without authority".

"The prosecutors down there don't seem to have a big problem with it, so we again are cautiously optimistic", Musilli said. The prosecutor's office could appeal the decision; however, Prosecutor Kym Worthy has said she no longer objects to Wershe's possible parole, which is considered a hopeful sign.

The actor Matthew McConaughey visited Wershe in March.

Other reports by BadHub

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