Calif. in­mate cleared af­ter 39 years gets $2 mil­lion

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - NATION & WORLD -

SACRA­MENTO, Calif. — Cal­i­for­nia awarded nearly $2 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion to a for­mer in­mate wrongly im­pris­oned for al­most 40 years. Gov. Jerry Brown on Thurs­day signed a law giv­ing Craig Richard Co­ley, 70, $140 for each day he was in prison.

Co­ley spent 39 years be­hind bars af­ter he was wrongly con­victed of killing his girl­friend, Rhonda Wicht, 24, of Simi Val­ley, and her 4-year-old son in 1978.

Brown par­doned him be­fore Thanks­giv­ing at the urg­ing of Simi Val­ley’s po­lice chief and Ven­tura County’s dis­trict at­tor­ney, who cited faulty ev­i­dence.

Co­ley pre­vi­ously said the money can’t make up for what he called the “worst nightmare” of spend­ing 13,991 days in prison.

It’s the largest pay­ment un­der Cal­i­for­nia’s Er­ro­neous Con­vic­tion Pro­gram.

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