Dear Reader,
Please read this and if you feel moved in conscience to act, as I and others have, then do so. I became acquainted with Temujin through religious activities about four years ago. Here is why I think he is innocent.

Temujin Kensu was convicted for the slaying of Scott Macklem. Macklem was killed with a shotgun, Wednesday, November 5, 1986, around 9 am in the parking lot of St. Clair Community College, Port Huron, Michigan. At the time of his original trial Temujin was known as Fredrick T. Freeman He changed his name for religious reasons while in prison. For brevity, we will refer to him as TK.

Here is a summary of the reasons why many of us believe in his innocence:

  1. Numerous witnesses place him in Escanaba, MI at the time of the murder in Port Huron, MI. They are more than 400 miles apart.
  2. The primary witness against him, Philip Joplin, confessed on television, to having lied on the stand. He was moved from Jackson Prison to a halfway house for his cooperation.
  3. TK requested but was denied a polygraph examination at the time of his arrest. Later in prison, he was given one by a recognized expert and passed with flying colors.
  4. His court appointed defense attorney, David M. Dean, a former assistant prosecutor, had been busted for alcohol and cocaine abuse. This behavior was known to the judge and prosecutor. Dean dissuaded TK from testifying in his own defense.
  5. The victim was murdered with a shotgun, an unlikely weapon for a man the authorities dubbed the "Ninja killer". The weapon was never found nor a shotgun tied to TK.
  6. The jury was not allowed to know that a prosecution witness, Rene Gobeyn, had been hypnotized to secure an identification.
  7. Other witnesses identified another man during a lineup, a James Loxton.
  8. The person he was with, in Escanaba, at the time of the murder was Michelle W. She was terrified by police and fled before the trial, fearing for her unborn child.
  9. TK had no motive to kill Mr. Macklem and did not know him.
  10. His accuser was a former girlfriend, Crystal Merrill. She admitted to not having seen him for several months. With no admitted knowledge of the crime, she testified that she "thought" TK had committed it. She also claimed he was able to read her mind and made other ridiculous statements of supposed Ninja abilities.

From the beginning, police focused on TK. No one else was investigated even though witnesses saw a woman get into the car in front of the victim's and leave right after the shot. Three cars were seen to leave the parking lot and no positive identifications could be made. The victim was known to have encounters with two men (not TK) who would seek him out at work and argue with him there. At school, the victim was failing, mostly due to lack of attendance and drug use was suspected. The crime scene was not secured. Fingerprints found on shot shell casings from the scene were not the defendant's.

When TK first heard that the police were looking for him, he was misinformed that his best friend had died. He called his old girlfriend, Crystal. During that call, the cops traced his location and arrested him. He was arrested without incident and spoke freely with officers. He requested a lie detector test, which was denied him. In jail, police steered him to a public defender , David Dean. Dean had been busted for snorting coke in front of an Ohio Deputy Sheriff. He was placed on probation under the same judge who presided over TK's trial. TK was something of a drifter and ladies man up to this point. He had a run in with the law in Washington State for some bad checks (overdrawn account). Nothing prepared him for this. He was broke and without guidance, he had little choice but to accept the advice the police gave him. He was unaware of Dean's severe drug problem and nobody was about to clue him in. None of his witnesses were called at the pretrial. He was told it was to expensive to bring them down. A snitch , Philip Joplin, was placed in his cell and testified that TK had confessed to him. He was let out of Jackson Prison, the worst in Michigan, and sent to a halfway house for his cooperation. Joplin recanted to a television journalist, Bill Proctor, when he knew he was about to die from medical problems.

The prosecutor was running for election to a state office. During the trial the story appeared in front page headlines every day. TK was billed as the"Ninja Killer" and was credited with almost superhuman powers. To hype the show, he had TK brought to court in prison clothes and manacles, across a public parking lot in full view of the press and jury. He displayed and made frequent reference to firearms from the police locker as being "possibly like the murder weapon". He had on the same table, in full view of the jury, martial arts paraphernalia and porno magazines. These did not belong to TK. Yet the prosecutor would handle them as if they had some meaning other than props in a show.

His primary witness was Michelle W, but she had been frightened away by police. They had lived together in Port Huron area, when he had the brief affair with Crystal. They moved to the UP (Michigan's Upper Penninsula) many months before the murder. Michelle was pregnant with TK's son and they were happy about it. After his arrest, she was the subject of unabated harassment by the police. She was told that she could be implicated as an accomplice. They threatened her that she would deliver her baby in prison and would never see it. Nonetheless, she moved back to the Port Huron area, to stay closer. The harassment eventually became too much. Terrified, she fled to her family in Florida. She would not be there to testify that TK was in bed with her at the time of the murder in their home in the UP. She now stands ready to do so. Other witnesses appeared in his behalf, all substantial citizens of Escanaba. They had not known him for more than a few months, but recognized him in a variety of scenes from the days before, of and after the crime. The prosecutor attacked the veracity of each. TK told his lawyer he had to take the stand. Dean refused him and steadfastly argued against TK's insistence. When he asked the judge to intervene he was told to listen to his lawyer. Inexperienced and without true guidance, he gave in to Dean. That decision may have cost him his freedom.

One huge point stood between the prosecutor and his victory, the distance. The Escanaba witnesses were too many for the jury to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. To overcome this, the prosecutor theorized that TK had taken an aircraft from the UP to Port Huron. This is a distance of 460 miles. Since highly credible witnesses placed TK in the UP two hours after the murder occurred, there had to be a way he could have done it. Although no aircraft or flight log was ever specified, the prosecutor told the jury that TK could still be guilty. The jury was shown pictures of propeller driven aircraft and told of pilots at the local airport just waiting to pick up a few extra dollars. Improbable as it was, the judge allowed it, the defense attorney did not counter it and the jury bought it. Not initially though; on the Friday after summations, the jury stood at 8 to 4 for acquittal. They were allowed to go home in a climate of media frenzy. Heat was cited as the reason. After a weekend at home, they returned a conviction. What made them change their minds? We may never know. One juror said, "His alibi was too perfect." Another said, "His attorney looked like such a sleaze bag, I figured he must be guilty".

The prosecutor is now a Federal judge, his lawyer has since had his law license suspended. He was ruled an ineffective and incompetent attorney for another case in this same time period. (That defendant was freed.) TK's appeals have been stonewalled. He was told, in an appeal before the same judge, that his attorney was competent. His case has been pushed far behind those of others on the docket and the interference is suspected. Had TK folded and confessed to a crime he did not commit, he would have been paroled by now. TK has been moved around various prisons in the Michigan correctional system for the last thirteen years. He has been stabbed twice and has had to fight for his life. He has experienced the worst that prison has to offer. His size and martial arts abilities have kept him alive. His insistence upon his right to meditate has landed him in solitary, but that meditation has kept him from succumbing to the degradation that is prison for an innocent man.

We are all aware that justice is, by its nature, less than perfect. We are also aware that Mr Kensu was not a model citizen at the time. However, there is no longer any justification for prolonging his incarceration without the deepest enquiry into the case.

Mike Mongan

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