Man who inspired 'White Boy Rick' released from custody

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Photo credit FILE - In a Sept. 4, 2015 file photo, Richard Wershe Jr. sits in a courtroom at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit. Wershe Jr., a Detroit-area man whose decades in prison for drug dealing and work as an FBI informant inspired the movie "White Boy Rick" was released from custody Monday, July 20, 2020, in Florida. Richard Wershe Jr. was discharged from a residential work-release program in Kissimmee, Florida, the state's Department of Corrections said. (David Coates /Detroit News via AP, File)

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area man whose decades in prison for drug dealing and work as an FBI informant inspired the movie “White Boy Rick” was released from custody Monday in Florida, his first steps of freedom since he was a teenager.

Richard Wershe Jr. was discharged from a residential work-release program in Kissimmee, Florida, the state's Department of Corrections said.

Wershe, 51, covered his head and got into a car headed to Michigan, WDIV-TV reported.

In 2017, he was released in Michigan after roughly 30 years in prison for a cocaine conviction but was sent to Florida to serve a sentence for a car theft scheme there. Wershe has been in a halfway house recently.

Wershe's story was the basis of the 2018 film “White Boy Rick,” starring Matthew McConaughey and with Richie Merritt in the title role.

The title referred to Wershe's nickname in his younger days, a moniker he dislikes. He will be on parole for another year in Michigan.

“He’s anxious to get home,” Wershe’s attorney, Ralph Musilli, said. “His head is in a good place. He has a good support group here, and he is finally ready get back into the real world.”