CONSTANTINE, Mich. (WOOD) — Raymond McCann, the former reserve police officer wrongly targeted for years as the killer of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack, lives just outside of town but says it’s difficult to go back there.
“It’s actually hard for me to even go back into that town because of all the negativity from certain people,” McCann told Target 8 on Wednesday, the first time he’s spoken publicly about the impact of the case.
“I’m just thankful for the people that have come forward and supported me, but it is, it’s hard to even go back into that town.”
On Wednesday, McCann gave a tour of Constantine to attorneys who have taken up his cause. They hope to overturn his perjury conviction that sent him to prison for 20 months.
“I’m glad someone is taking an interest in this case because I feel very strong that I’ve been wronged and I’m glad someone is helping me out.”
>>RELATED: Jodi’s murder: Making a monster
Among them are attorneys from Northwestern University in Chicago, including Steven Drizin — known for his work in the “Making a Murderer” series — and attorneys from the Michigan Innocence Clinic.
“I want to clear my name. I want to try to get my charges reversed, get the felony off my record,” McCann said.
He rode with the attorneys past the Constantine Police Station where he was repeatedly interrogated, through the cemetery where Jodi’s body was found in November 2007, and past the home of Daniel Furlong, the man recently convicted of killing Jodi.
The attorneys reached out to him in response to Target 8’s “Making a Monster” investigation that revealed police had lied repeatedly to McCann during hours of interrogations — a legal tactic in the U.S.
They targeted him from the start because of what they called holes in his stories before Jodi disappeared, during his search for her, and after her body was found. Even after he pleaded no contest to perjury, police continued calling him their lead suspect, until Furlong’s arrest last year. He was released from prison in late December, after serving his entire sentence.
“I was attacked within the first week and a half of when I was in prison,” he said. “Because being in law enforcement, the word got out right away and then I was attacked.”
He said he still can’t find a job.
“It’s devastated our family,” he said. “I’ve got brothers and sisters, we’re not close like we used to be. I got a son I haven’t seen because of all this.”
He acknowledged perhaps his biggest mistake.
“I wish I would have got an attorney from Day One,” he said. “I didn’t because these were my fellow colleagues, my workers, you know, we worked together in the police department. I felt that I was helping them from Day One, until they turned it around on me.”
During video-recorded interrogations obtained by Target 8, McCann denied any involvement in Jodi’s death 86 times. On Wednesday, he denied it for an 87th time.
“I had nothing to do with it. I don’t know why they started pointing the fingers at me. I tried to help just like everybody else that night, tried to find a missing child and somehow it went from there, but I just still don’t understand it and maybe someday I will.”