U.S. News & World Report: Cleveland pays $4.85 million to OIP exoneree to settle wrongful conviction
The city of Cleveland will pay a man who was wrongfully convicted of aggravated murder and spent 11 years in prison before he was freed with the help of the Ohio Innocence Project $4.85 million to settle a lawsuit he filed against two city homicide detectives, reports U.S. News & World Report.
David Ayers, 63, was convicted in 2000 for the beating death of an elderly woman at an apartment complex where he worked as a security guard. Prosecutors hung their case largely based on testimony from the detectives and a jailhouse informant.
Ayers, who denied the allegations, sought the assistance of the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, which found that hairs discovered on the victim did not come from Ayers, that detectives coached the informant, and the detectives failed to check security camera footage that would have confirmed Ayers’ alibi.
Ayers was released from prison in 2011. He sued the city and both detectives in federal court the following year. Cleveland was dismissed as a defendant, but Ayers won a $13.2 million judgement against the detectives. Cleveland refused to pay the judgement and hired attorneys to assist the detectives in filing for bankruptcy.
Ayers’ lawyers have continued to fight the case. A judge ruled in 2016 the city had to pay Ayers, but an appeals court overturned the decision earlier this year. In September, Ayers’ attorneys brought new allegations against Cleveland and members of its law department, arguing they manipulated the process to avoid the city having to pay the judgment.
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