A wrongfully convicted man has agreed to a $21 million settlement with a California city. He spent 39 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
Craig Coley, now 71, was convicted of murdering Rhonda Wicht and her 4-year-old son, Donald, in 1978. He was released in November 2017 after receiving a pardon from then-Gov. Jerry Brown. Cole always maintained his innocence. He had no prior criminal record before the murder.s It was the Simi Valley Police Department’s initiative to reopen the case, led to the discovery of DNA evidency. Investigators used new technology and forensic tests. Simi Valley, California, will pay him $21 million.
Craig Coley, now a free man
"While no amount of money can make up for what happened to Mr. Coley, settling this case is the right thing to do for Mr. Coley and our community," Simi Valley City Manager Eric Levitt said. The city will pay about $4.9 million of the $21 million settlement, with the rest coming from other sources, including insurance. The real guilty for the double crime is an unknown male who might not ever be identified. Craig’s message is always don’t give up. More than 350 U.S. inmates have been exonerated by DNA testing since 1989, according to New York-based the Innocence Project.