New York City has reached a settlement with a man who was falsely convicted and imprisoned for almost 25 years in connection with a Brooklyn murder that took place while he was vacationing in Orlando, Fla., the Associated Press reports.
The city agreed to pay Jonathan Fleming $6.25 million, with Comptroller Scott Stringer saying that this settlement was "in the best interest of all parties."
"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.
Some found Fleming's case rather curious, since he was convicted and imprisoned even though he had an alibi, one that the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office agreed was valid at his exoneration last year.
A friend of Fleming's was shot to death in Brooklyn in August 1989. That's when Fleming was more than 1,000 miles away, vacationing at Disney World. Fleming had plane tickets, videos, a hotel receipt and other material to prove his innocence.
Fleming had been up front about his whereabouts from the start. But a woman had testified that she saw him commit the murder. That witness eventually recanted her testimony.
When prosecutors reviewed the police files, documents supporting Fleming's alibi were uncovered. A receipt for a hotel bill that Fleming paid in Florida about five hours prior to the shooting had been in his pocket upon his arrest. But the authorities had not turned over this evidence or the 1989 Orlando police office report stating that hotel employees recalled Fleming's presence in Florida at the time of the New York murder.
Fleming's lawyers were pleased with the settlement; only last year he filed a notice of plans to sue for $162 million.
"The swift settlement will enable Jonathan and his family to build a new life without the painful and costly prospect of further litigation," attorneys Paul Callan and Martin Edelman said, according to AP.
Shortly after signing the documents, though, Fleming rushed to the hospital; his mother is said to be gravely ill.
Read more at The Guardian.