July 20, 2024

Columbus Post

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A convicted American must be innocent

A convicted American must be innocent

In 1986, the “Ninja Killer” allegedly killed another man as a teenager. But doubts about his guilt are growing – also because of the flight theory.

Julian Seiferth / T-Online

Written article

Scott Macklem died young. The student was just 20 years old when he was gunned down in the parking lot of his university in Port Huron, USA in 1986. A year later, another young man was sentenced to life in prison: Fred Freeman, then just 23 years old. He has been in jail for 36 years in a murder case.

Freeman and his lawyers believe the verdict was wrong. This was reported by the American television NBC. Their main argument: There is no evidence that Freeman, now known as Temujin Kensu, a convert to Buddhism, was even in Port Huron.

Fred Freeman: He was in 1987

Fred Freeman: He became known as the “Ninja Killer” in 1987 and is now known as Temujin Kenzu.Built by: Michigan Department of Corrections

“So hard to believe”

In 1986, the then-teenager had booked a private flight in Escanaba, assuming it would take him to the other end, the verdict was handed down. Michigan would have brought There he shot and killed Macklem airport Returned and returned from Port Huron to Escanaba. One way distance: 700 kilometers.

Route from Escanaba to Port Huron: There are about 700 kilometers between the cities.  (Source: Google Maps)

Route from Escanaba to Port Huron: There are about 700 kilometers between the cities.Screenshot: Google Maps

“It's so unlikely, it's unbelievable,” says Harvey Setter. The 82-year-old wrote one of the letters Freeman's lawyers are relying on in a new bid to free what they believe is an aviation expert and wrongfully convicted man.

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They sent Setter's letter to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer along with letters from two other experts. Whitmer, it was believed, could pardon Freeman.

This may be Freeman's last attempt

This is not the first attempt – rather, it may be the last. That's because Freeman's attorneys had already tried almost everything, filing repeated appeals and presenting new evidence of the alleged absurdity of a flight across the state.

But they've been shot down time and time again — most recently when Michigan's attorney general argued there was no evidence Freeman was innocent. The commission did not comment on the question of whether there was evidence of his wrongdoing.

There is no reason to imprison him.

A mistake, according to Freeman's attorney, Imran Syed. His letters to Widmer had experts look at the case and assess whether such a flight was possible in this way. “They made it clear: It won't be.” He believes the governor: “There is no way he could have committed this crime. There is no reason to imprison him.

Freeman was reportedly in Escanaba at the time of the crime

A skilled martial artist, Freeman was nicknamed the “Ninja Killer” during the 1987 trial. During the trial, the prosecution portrayed him as aggressive and called witness pilot Bob Evans, who did not see the man near the airport, but argued that he could have voluntarily chartered a private plane by arriving on the tarmac.

Pilots were hanging around their planes all the time, ready to take Freeman to Port Huron and back. In contrast, there are witnesses to this day who testify that the 23-year-old was with Macklem when he died in Escanaba, 700 kilometers away.

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Bob Evans is now dead – and his credibility is questionable from a security perspective. A former airport employee said such a plane would have been spotted at Escanaba. “The airport has not been used for days. Any flight will take off during this time.

Witness “not known for his honesty”

That's why the idea that pilots would wait there for walk-in customers was a “total invention.” Another person who reportedly knew the pilot before his death wrote in a letter to the governor that Evans was his friend but “not exactly known for his integrity.” Whitmer's office has yet to comment on how it will handle the experts' letters — and whether it thinks a pardon for Freeman is possible.

But why did that young man actually shoot a 20-year-old man nearly 40 years ago when he boarded a plane, traveled a total of 1,400 kilometers? Jealousy, the prosecution argued in 1987: The victim, Scott Macklem, was allegedly dating Freeman's then-fiancée.

Another “Ninja Assassin”

American media use the term “ninja assassin” over and over again. Louis Bernard Gaskin was a convicted murderer who was executed in Florida in 1989 for the Palm Coast murders of Robert and Georgette Sturmfels. He was also convicted of the attempted murder of Joseph and Mary Rector.


After Horror, Peace: An Abandoned Prison in Philadelphia


After Horror, Peace: An Abandoned Prison in Philadelphia

Holmesburg Penitentiary in Philadelphia, USA opened in 1896.

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