- A man identified as Craig Coley will be getting the whooping sum of N7.6 billion after he was wrongfully convicted
- The 71-year-old man who spent 38 years in prison, was wrongfully accused of the murder of a woman and her four-year-old son
- Coley was pardoned by the then governor of California, Jerry Brown, after DNA evidence proved his innocence
The city of Simi Valley in California recently reached a $21-million (N7.6 billion) settlement with a man who spent more than 38 years wrongfully arrested and jailed for the brutal 1978 murders of a woman and her 4-year-old son.
The man identified as Craig Coley who is now 71, spent 38 years in prison for a crime he did not commit and was later pardoned by the then governor of California, Jerry Brown, who stated that the DNA evidence and a re-investigation of the Simi Valley murders proved his innocence.
Officials stated that the city of Simi Valley will provide $4.6m while the rest is expected to be paid by insurance and other sources. According to the officials, the agreement would mitigate long, costly and unnecessary legal proceedings.
The City Manager Eric Levitt said in a statement:“While no amount of money can make up for what happened to Mr. Coley, settling this case is the right thing to do for Mr. Coley and our community. The monetary cost of going to trial would be astronomical and it would be irresponsible for us to move forward in that direction.”
The state approved a separate, much smaller payout last year. Brown approved a $1.95 million payment for Coley $140 for each day he was wrongfully behind bars. That marked the largest payout by the state’s Victim Compensation Board for an erroneous conviction.
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The victims were discovered by a relative who grew concerned when Rhonda Wicht did not show up for a family get-together. The 24-year-old had been strangled with an 11-foot macrame rope, her son, Donald, smothered in his bed.
Coley, a Vietnam War veteran who was going through a breakup with Wicht, was held for questioning that day and ultimately charged with the two murders. He did not have a prior criminal record.
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