- A man was wrongfully convicted and released from prison after spending 40-years behind bars
- He was cleared after DNA evidence was used to overturn his conviction
- He feels that the R23-million compensation he was paid is not sufficient for the time he has lost
A former inmate of a Californian prison was released after being imprisoned for nearly 40-years. He was released when DNA tests revealed that he was not guilty of murdering his 24-year-old girlfriend.
Craig Richard Coley, 70, was given $2-million (R23-million) as compensation, this worked out to R1600 per day he spent in prison.
He was pardoned by Gov. Jerry Brown before Thanksgiving.
Coley described the experience as the worst nightmare of his life and the compensation he received is inadequate and cannot replace the 40-years of his life that he lost.
"It's going to make my life comfortable for the rest of my life," Coley said after the board approved his claim for $1 958 740. "How much would you say would be the right amount of money to pay for 40 years they take of your life? ... You can't put a price on your freedom."
His parents died while he was in prison and he lost the opportunity to start a family and raise his own children.
As a former Vietnam veteran, he plans to use the money he received to help homeless veterans. The amount he was paid out was determined by the state's Erroneous Conviction Program and is the largest payment ever made.
Coley wants an investigation to be launched to determine how he came to be wrongfully convicted. He harbours suspicions that he was framed by the original investigator but had not released his name.
"I'd like to see them catch who did this," he said. "How many crimes have they committed because they focused on me?"
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