New York City will pay $US17 million to settle wrongful conviction claims brought on behalf of three brothers who spent decades in prison before being exonerated of murder in cases linked to a police detective whose actions are under official review.
Scott Stringer, the city’s comptroller, said on Monday the settlement stems from the convictions of half-brothers Robert Hill, Alvena Jennette and Darryl Austin in separate fatal shootings in the 1980s. Austin died in prison in 2000.
The men spent a cumulative 60 years imprisoned before their convictions were vacated last year.
“This settlement is in the best interests of all parties,” Stringer said in a statement.
All three men were investigated by retired police detective Louis Scarcella, whose murder cases are under review by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
Cases linked to Scarcella were put into question after the New York Times reported instances in which he relied on the same eyewitness, a drug-addicted prostitute, for multiple murder prosecutions. Scarcella also delivered confessions from suspects who later denied making such admissions, the Times reported.
Scarcella has publicly denied claims that he acted improperly in his investigations.
As part of the settlement, Jennette will receive $US6 million and Hill will receive $US7.15 million. Louise Austin, mother of the three men, will receive $US3.85 million on behalf of Austin’s estate.
(Editing by Scott Malone and Will Dunham)
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