$800k + apology: Man sues Ohio over 19yr wrongful imprisonment

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A man from Toledo who spent 19 years in prison is suing the State of Ohio for an apology and massive compensation.

Danny Brown has filed a lawsuit for wrongful imprisonment. He was sentenced to life in 1982 for the murder of 28-year-old mother of three Bobbi Russell, whom he was dating at the time. She had been raped and strangled with an extension cord. The victims’ six-year-old son testified against Brown, landing him behind bars, despite inconsistencies in the boy's testimony.

In 2001, a DNA test found no match between samples taken from Brown and from the victim, which bought his freedom. He also successfully passed a lie detector test. Soon afterwards, Brown appealed his wrongful sentence.

His first attempt to gain compensation was turned down by a State Court of Appeal. Prosecutors refused to clear him of suspicion, even though the DNA results pointed to a different man, already convicted of another murder.

“Even though I’ve been released from prison, I am still not free,” Brown says. “Every day I feel the heavy burden of this case, and this lawsuit gives me hope that justice will be served.”

Reuters / Carlos Jasso

Brown's representatives say he can't find a job because of the still-unresolved case and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in prison.

Filing his second lawsuit, Brown says the evidence is on his side.

“There has [sic] been plenty of cases where DNA has overruled eyewitness testimony, regardless of what the person is saying. Because ultimately, the science is telling the truth, and the individual eyewitness was faulty in their testimony,” he said, as cited by the Guardian.

If Brown wins the case, he could receive almost $800,000 in compensation, as state law provides for about $42,000 for each year spent behind bars in a wrongful sentence.

Just last month, three Ohio men were exonerated in a similar case. Two of them had spent nearly 40 years in jail, after their initial death sentences were commuted to life terms.