D.C. To Pay $16.5 Million To Man Who Spent 27 Years In Jail For Crime He Didn’t Commit

Donald Eugene Gates, a man who spent 27 years in jail after being wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, will receive a grand total of $16.5 million from the District of Columbia, ABC News reports.

In 1981, Gates was sentenced to prison for the rape and murder of Georgetown University student Catherine Schilling. In 2009, with the use of advanced DNA evidence, authorities discovered the crime was committed by a man who died in 2013. On Wednesday, a federal jury also uncovered that the officers in the original investigation knowingly withheld important evidence in the case that would have proved the now 64-year-old’s innocence.

Evidence FBI hair analyst Michael P. Malone presented during Gates’ trial has been largely discredited, after it was found he gave false testimony during another case in the 1990s. A paid police informant’s testimony was also denounced after he provided false information, Gates’ lawyers said.

This settlement comes after he was given $1 million from the federal government. Since Gates’ release, he moved to Tennessee and is dealing with a number of health issues.

ABC News reports:

Of the settlement, he said: “I’m going to put it to good use, that’s for sure.” In Gates’ case, DNA testing was also able to determine the real killer in 2013, but that man had died the previous year.

After Gates’ exoneration in 2009, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia spent over four years reviewing cases involving FBI analysis of hair and fiber evidence. The office identified more than 100 cases for review, and ultimately set aside four other convictions as a result.

The District of Columbia’s Office of the Attorney General had previously defended police in the case. After the settlement was announced, new Attorney General Karl Racine released a statement wishing Gates well and praising him for his strength in the midst of adversity.

SOURCE: ABC News | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform

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