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The California man cleared of double murders after 40 years in prison receives $ 21 million

Craig Coley, pictured in February 201 8, was accused of killing her girlfriend and her 4-year-old son. (AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli, File) A Southern California man who was wrongly imprisoned for nearly four decades in the killing of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old son will receive $ 21 million in a settlement with the city of Simi Valley, officials said. Craig Coley, 71, was released from prison in 2017 after he was forgiven, then Gov. Jerry Brown, who said DNA evidence and reconsideration, showed Coley's virginity in the 1978 killings of 24-year-old Rhonda Wicht and her son. Forensic tests showed that Coley DNA was not on the victim's seed leaf, which contained DNA from an unknown man. Coley also had an alibi for slaying time and investigators later rejected testimonies from an eyewitness who placed him on stage. Brown forgave Coley at the request of Simi Valley Chief of Police and Ventura County District Attorney Office and the state approved a separate settlement payment of nearly $ 2 million last year. A judge also explained that Coley was actually innocent. The deal with Simi Valley was first reported by the Los Angeles Times. City officials said the agreement would prevent long, costly and unnecessary legal proceedings. "While no money can compensate for what happened to Coley, this is justice to do this for Coley and our society," said City Secretary Eric Levitt in a statement. The city will pay about $ 4.9 million and the rest expected to be…

A Southern California man who was wrongly imprisoned for nearly four decades in the killing of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old son will receive $ 21 million in a settlement with the city of Simi Valley, officials said.

Craig Coley, 71, was released from prison in 2017 after he was forgiven, then Gov. Jerry Brown, who said DNA evidence and reconsideration, showed Coley’s virginity in the 1978 killings of 24-year-old Rhonda Wicht and her son.

Forensic tests showed that Coley DNA was not on the victim’s seed leaf, which contained DNA from an unknown man. Coley also had an alibi for slaying time and investigators later rejected testimonies from an eyewitness who placed him on stage.

Brown forgave Coley at the request of Simi Valley Chief of Police and Ventura County District Attorney Office and the state approved a separate settlement payment of nearly $ 2 million last year. A judge also explained that Coley was actually innocent.

The deal with Simi Valley was first reported by the Los Angeles Times. City officials said the agreement would prevent long, costly and unnecessary legal proceedings.

“While no money can compensate for what happened to Coley, this is justice to do this for Coley and our society,” said City Secretary Eric Levitt in a statement. The city will pay about $ 4.9 million and the rest expected to be paid by insurance and other sources.

Ron Kaye, a lawyer representing Coley, said that the settlement offers some closure and settlement for his client, but no amount of money can compensate him for the life he missed in prison. [19659005] “He can now live the rest of his life, which we hope will be really good in the future, with the certainty he deserves,” said Kaye.

The Simi Valley police have not arrested anyone else in the murder. Associated Press contributed to this report.


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