GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who spent nearly two years in prison in connection to the Jodi Parrack case before being exonerated is suing the police officers who worked to build a perjury case against him.
On Friday, Raymond McCann II filed a federal lawsuit against the estate of the late former Constantine Police Chief James Bedell, Constantine Officer Marcus Donker, Michigan State Police Detective Bryan Fuller, St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Lonnie Palmer and MSP Detective Lt. Shane Criger. The suit also names the officers’ employers as defendants.
The suit claims malicious prosecution under both federal and state law, a violation of McCann’s right to due process, conspiracy to deprive him of his constitutional rights and civil conspiracy.
Jodi was killed in November 2007 and her body dumped in the cemetery in Constantine. She was 11 years old.
McCann was a reserve police officer at the time and he was the first officer at the cemetery after Jodi’s mother found her body.
Though his DNA did not match the DNA found on Jodi’s body, investigators came to believe McCann was the killer. They interviewed him about 20 times and repeatedly lied to him — a tactic that is legal in the U.S. — and ultimately charged him with perjury. Facing life in prison, McCann eventually pleaded no contest to get a lighter sentence.
Central to the perjury case was surveillance video from Tumble Dam, where McCann said he went to look for Jodi. Authorities said during prosecution that it showed he was never there, but innocence project attorneys later found it wasn’t aimed toward where McCann said he parked.
The lawsuit argues the investigators pursued McCann as a suspect without probable cause and that they worked together to ‘fabricate’ evidence of perjury, saying it was a “corrupt scheme” to pressure him into confessing to the murder.
McCann is asking the court to award him compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and costs, though the suit does not list a specific dollar amount.
The village of Constantine declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday.