MEDIA, Pa. (CBS) — The fight to release a man who was convicted in a deadly robbery will heat back up on Monday. David Sheppard was granted clemency after nearly three decades in prison. But now, some are accusing prosecutors of misconduct by halting his release over a few pairs of stolen jeans.
Sheppard is due in court Monday for his bail hearing on a 27-year-old shoplifting case.
For the Sheppard brothers, it’s times like these when they hoped their father could be around.
“He would’ve been here,” Devin Sheppard said.
Instead of spending Sunday night with his five children and nine grandchildren at an arcade for the first time, the 54-year-old Sheppard — originally from West Philadelphia — is still at SCI Phoenix prison in Collegeville, even after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf granted him clemency.
“Everybody’s got rights and he served his time. They’re giving him another chance, so give him his chance,” son Davonne Sheppard said.
David Sheppard had served 27 years for his role in a deadly shooting and robbery of a beloved West Philly pharmacy owner. He was not the gunman, but he was serving life for second degree felony murder until the state pardons board and governor approved his release.
Hours before this release from prison on Friday, outgoing Delaware County District Attorney Kat Copeland filed a detainer over his failure to show for court for a 1992 stolen jeans case.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who chairs the commonwealth’s five-member pardons board, said, “This store went out of business 25 years ago and even got the items back.”
In a statement, Copeland said, “The issue here is not about a shoplifting charge, it is the complete failure of the criminal justice system to give victims and their families a voice. Convicted felons are being empowered and extended leniency at the direct expense of victims and their families.”
Both Fetterman and Sheppard’s public defender called Copeland’s action an abuse of power.
“To keep a man in a cage any longer than he’s already spent under these circumstances is really inappropriate and it’s a major miscarriage of justice,” Sheppard’s lawyer Max Orenstein said.
Sheppard’s sons say their dad is hopeful.
“He’s ready to go to court, he’s ready to get it over with. He knows that whatever they’re bringing up is not going to hold him in jail,” Davonne Sheppard said.
Sheppard’s sons and Fetterman are expected to be in court on Monday.
Sheppard’s bail hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday.