Protestors Want New Trial For Man Serving Life In Prison
July 25, 2018
Community members gathered outside of the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office in Howell today in support of the man convicted in a double murder case that 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan presided over.
Supporters at the protest for Jerome Kowalski came and went throughout the day, with a group of about 15 people outside the Prosecutor’s Office as of 4pm. Protestors say Kowalski is an innocent man sentenced to life in prison for two crimes he did not commit, alleging he never got a fair trial with Judge Brennan. Protestors cite Brennan’s relationship with former Michigan State Police Detective Sean Furlong, who was the lead investigator in the 2008 double homicide of Jerome Kowalski’s brother and sister-in-law in their Oceola Township home. Brennan and Furlong say the affair began after the trial, but testimony and documents from Brennan’s 2017 divorce indicate the relationship began long before Kowalski’s trial.
While Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt does not have the authority to remove Brennan from office, Jerome’s son, Jared Kowalski, says Vailliencourt could take alternative actions like granting his father a new trial and filing charges against Brennan.
In a written statement to WHMI, Vailliencourt responded to say, “I am conducting a careful and thorough review of the facts and the applicable law to determine whether a new trial is required. I have consulted with Mr. Kowalski’s attorney and have also made sure that the family of the victims are aware of what is going on. This is not a decision to be made lightly. Once a decision is made, it will be handled though the appropriate judicial processes."
Also attending today’s protest was individuals who say they too have been wronged in Brennan’s court. Protest organizer Denice Watts says in her own divorce case, she had to sell her house or remortgage it. Watts took it off the market because she felt it needed some more work and says Brennan’s response to that shocked many involved in the case. Watts says Brennan angrily told her she had no right to take her house off the market, then, to Watts' ex-husband and his attorney twice said, “Let’s just give her 30 days to get out."
Jerome Kowalski’s conviction from the 2013 trial was based largely on his confession to Detective Furlong. Kowalski quickly recanted the confession and has since maintained his innocence. You can view Vailliencourt's full response at the attachment below. (DK)