CENTREVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Ten years and a day after Jodi Parrack was murdered in her hometown, Ray McCann II was in court Thursday hoping to finally clear his name.
“You were a suspect in Jodi Parrack’s murder?” one of his attorneys asked him.
“Correct,” he answered.
McCann, who had nothing to do with the murder, pleaded no contest to perjury and spent 20 months behind bars.
“It’s just to clear his name,” Michigan Innocence Clinic Attorney David Moran said after Thursday’s hearing in St. Joseph County Circuit Court. “That’s all we’re trying to do.”
Jodi disappeared Nov. 8, 2007, in her hometown of Constantine. The 11-year-old girl’s mother later discovered her body in a cemetery.
McCann, then a reserve police officer, quickly became the lead suspect.
“They were out to get somebody,” McCann testified on Thursday in St. Joseph County Circuit Court. “I think it didn’t matter. I felt that they were out to get me.”
His case now comes down to grainy video and whether police lied about it.
McCann told police he was at the Tumble Dam in Constantine during the search for Jodi.
He told police he planned to check near the dam for Jodi because it was an area that kids liked to hang out. He said he parked there, but never got out of his car.
State Police Det. Bryan Fuller later testified surveillance video shows McCann was not there.
It was one of many alleged lies McCann was accused of telling during repeated interviews, leading to the perjury charge he pleaded no contest to.
Lawyers from the University of Michigan’s Michigan Innocence Clinic and Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions took up McCann’s case in response to Target 8’s “Making a Monster” investigation that showed police lied repeatedly during their interrogations.
Among the lies, his attorneys said, was that police told him they found his DNA on Jodi’s body.
During those interrogations, McCann denied any involvement in the killing 86 times.
McCann’s attorneys watched the surveillance video for the first time last year after Target 8 used the Freedom of Information Act to get a copy from prosecutor John McDonough.
They said they’ve since learned that the video, taken from a nearby creamery, doesn’t show the area around the dam at all.
“I feel that was another one of his tactics,” McCann said of Fuller. “All along through this whole case, he has either misled or lied to family, friends – turned
the whole town against me.”
After the hearing, Fuller denied lying about the video.
“Absolutely not,” he said.
McDonough refused to comment after Thursday’s hearing. The hearing is set to resume Dec. 15 before Judge Paul Stutesman.