New York City has agreed to pay $6.25 million to 53 year old Jonathan Flemming who has spent half of his life in prison for a murder he did not commit.
The settlement which was on reached on Tuesday came more than a year after a judge had ordered Fleming’s release from prison.
Comptroller Scott Stringer said settling Jonathan Fleming’s claim is “in the best interest of all parties.”
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“We cannot give back the time that he served, but the city of New York can offer Jonathan Fleming this compensation for the injustice that was committed against him,” Stringer said.
Press TV reports:
Fleming had been found guilty of the August 1989 shooting death of a drug trafficker despite being with his family in Orlando, Florida.
He was freed in April 2014 after his conviction was overturned by the Brooklyn district attorney.
“Mr. Fleming spent nearly half of his life behind bars for a crime that evidence available at the time proved he could not have committed,” New York City comptroller Scott Stringer said.
“We cannot give back the time that he served, but the city of New York can offer Jonathan Fleming this compensation for the injustice that was committed against him.”
Fleming spent a quarter of century in prison before being exonerated in a killing that took place while he was more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away vacationing at Disney World, Stringer said.
Evidence that was not disclosed to the defense during his trial — which would have confirmed his alibi for the August 1989 slaying in a Williamsburg project — was unearthed during a review of the case by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.
That included a phone receipt from an Orlando hotel showing he was there just hours before the murder and a report from local police, which interviewed hotel staff who remembered him. Both documents were found in the case file.
After signing the settlement documents, Fleming left for the hospital to be with his dying mother.
“The swift settlement will enable Jonathan and his family to build a new life without the painful and costly prospect of further litigation,” Fleming’s lawyers Paul Callan and Martin Edelman said in a joint statement.
Fleming said, “It’s a bittersweet moment. On the same day I’m signing this settlement, I’m taking my mother off of life support.”
“When I was in prison, my mother told me she prayed and asked God for her to live long enough to witness me getting out of prison,” Fleming said.
“When I got out, she told me she asked God to please get some time with me. And, she got that,” he stated.
According to a study released last year, one in every 25 death row inmates in the United States is innocent. Approximately 3,000 US prisoners are waiting to be put to death.