Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Compensation for freed US prisoner

A US man who spent 13 years in prison for a murder he did not commit has been awarded 13.2 million dollars in compensation

A man who spent 13 years in prison for a murder he did not commit has been awarded 13.2 million dollars (£8.8m) in compensation.

David Ayers of Cleveland cried as a jury found that two police detectives violated his civil rights by falsifying testimony and withholding evidence that pointed to his innocence.

The jury's verdict, which included awarding the compensation for his pain and suffering, brings an end to the legal battle he has been fighting since his arrest in the 1999 killing of 76-year-old Dorothy Brown.

Mr Ayers was released from prison in 2011 after the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati reversed his conviction and the state decided not to seek another trial.

The 56-year-old, who was a security guard for the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, had been found guilty of killing Ms Brown at her CMHA apartment in Cleveland.

"This should have been stopped a long time ago," Mr Ayers told the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper after the jury's verdict.

"My goal is that it never happens to anyone else ever again."

He filed his civil rights lawsuit in March 2012 against six Cleveland police officers, the city and the county housing authority.

Allegations against three of the officers, the city and the housing authority were dismissed by a judge who found that their roles did not violate Ayers' rights.

One of the remaining officers settled out of court with Ayers for an undisclosed amount. The Friday verdict was against Michael Cipo and Denise Kovach, who were the lead detectives in the case, and have denied misconduct.

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