Recently, hopes were high that former high-profile teenage Detroit cocaine dealer and “illegal underage federal informant” Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe would get a second chance at life. In 1987, Wershe was arrested in 1987 and sentenced to life in prison at the tender age of 17, under Michigan’s now-obsolete “650 lifer law.” Supporters hoped that the abolition of this statute (happened in 1998) would grant Wershe the opportunity to be freed after nearly 30 years behind bars. However, That hope was snatched away on Tuesday by the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Dana Hathaway had ordered previously that Wershe would be resentenced on September 4th. However, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office swiftly appealed those orders, and the appellate court sided with them on Tuesday. Wershe’s family “is reeling” after the decision, according to the Oakland Press. Wershe’s mother, Darlene, said, “I’m devastated. This is absolutely ridiculous. Why do they want to keep doing this to him? Why do they want to keep punishing him after all these years? It doesn’t make sense, it’s crazy.”
Wershe will remain the longest-serving non-violent prisoner serving time in the Michigan Department of Corrections. The Press writes:
Over the past decade, it’s been revealed through the unearthing of federal documents and first-hand accounts by former members of law enforcement that Wershe’s “White Boy Rick” persona was in fact birthed by the government. Retired FBI agents and Detroit Police Department personnel admit to recruiting Wershe out of the eighth grade in the summer of 1984 at the age of 14 and putting him to work as a paid informant for the next two years, tasked with infiltrating local drug gangs and pretending to be an aspiring dope pusher. At the time of Wershe’s arrest on May 22, 1987, he was no longer employed by the government, however, following his incarceration he went back to work for the FBI and helped build more cases. His post-prison cooperation lasted from 1991 into the mid-2000s.