Innocent Man Who Spent 45 Years In Prison Set To Receive $1.5M Compensation

A man who spent 45 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit is set to receive $1.5million (£1,177,470) in compensation.

Richard Phillips, now 73, was convicted and jailed for murder in 1972 and spent the next four-and-a-half decades protesting his innocence.

He was exonerated in March 2018, after the Innocence Clinic at University of Michigan law school discovered that in 2010 a co-defendant had told the parole board that Phillips had no part in the murder.

Under Michigan laws, people who are exonerated can claim up to $50,000 for every year they spend wrongly imprisoned.

In this case, that would equate to $2.25m, but authorities took away 15 years' worth for an armed robbery sentence that Phillips was serving at the time he was convicted.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel confirmed the compensation, saying: "We have an obligation to provide compassionate compensation to these men for the harm they suffered."

Phillips' attorney, Gabi Silver, said: "The attorney general's office made a decision to pay him every penny he's currently owed. I am very happy with how things have turned out."

Richard Phillips was exonerated in March 2018 after 45 years in prison. Credit: WXYZ
Richard Phillips was exonerated in March 2018 after 45 years in prison. Credit: WXYZ

Speaking after the hearing, Phillips told Detroit News: "I just want to keep a low profile, travel and enjoy life. That's what I wanted to do in the first place."

When asked about future plans he added: "I just want to chill, kick back, and paint."

While in prison, Phillips, who has two children, took up painting and upon his release was forced to sell his paintings to earn some cash. His paintings went on to sell well and he became a bit of art phenomenon in the US.

Speaking in March last year, Phillips told AP: "I didn't actually think I'd ever be free again. This art is what I did to stay sane."

Opening up about being forced to sell his art work to get by, he added: "These are like my children. But I don't have any money. I don't have a choice. Without this, I'd have a cup on the corner begging for nickels and dimes. I'm too old get a job."

In an interview with the Daily Mail, he spoke about the brutal reality of spending so long banged up while being innocent.

"I missed out on a lot while I was locked up for 45 years for a crime I didn't commit," he said.

"I hadn't seen my kids and my mother died. Looking back on it, I don't know how I made it in prison."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Claire Reid

Claire is a journalist at LADbible who, after dossing around for a few years, went to Liverpool John Moores University. She graduated with a degree in Journalism and a whole load of debt. When not writing words in exchange for money she is usually at home watching serial killer documentaries surrounded by cats. You can contact Claire at [email protected]

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