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Man Falsely Imprisoned For 28 Years Awarded $9.8 Million

Man Falsely Imprisoned For 28 Years Awarded $9.8 Million

A man who was falsely imprisoned for 28 years has been awarded $9.8 million.

Chester Hollman III was 21 when he was charged with the murder of a University of Pennsylvania student during a botched robbery back in 1991.

In July 2019, a judge ordered that he be released from prison, stating that the police and prosecutors had built their case against him on fabricated evidence from people they had coerced to come forward as witnesses.

The judge also said that they had withheld evidence that pointed to the real perpetrators.

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At the time of his exoneration, Assistant District Attorney Patricia Cummings told the court: "I apologize to Chester Hollman.

"I apologize because he was failed, and in failing him, we failed the victim, and we failed the community of the city of Philadelphia."

Chester Hollman III spent 28 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Credit: Netflix
Chester Hollman III spent 28 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Credit: Netflix

The settlement was announced on 30 December, and is one of a number of seven-figure settlements stemming from claims of misconduct by city police in the late 1980s and 1990s.

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Speaking about the decision, Mr Hollman said it marked the beginning of a new life for him.

He said: "There are no words to express what was taken from me. But this settlement closes out a difficult chapter in my life as my family and I now embark on a new one."

Mr Hollman's incredible story was part of a crime series released by Netflix last year, called The Innocence Files.

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The show delves into one of the most fascinating facets of true crime, exploring the 'miscarriages of justice' that take place when people are wrongfully convicted of a crime they didn't commit.

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The nine-part documentary focuses on eight cases of wrongful conviction, looking at the cases of Chester Hollman III, Kenneth Wyniemko, Alfred Dewayne Brown, Thomas Haynesworth, Franky Carrillo, Levon Brooks, Kennedy Brewer and Keith Harward.

One man in the series, Levon Brooks, was sentenced for life in prison for sexually assaulting and murdering a three-year-old girl. Even though Brooks had a strong alibi, he was sentenced based on bite marks that appeared to match his teeth - only for a similar assault and murder to take place in the same town soon after his conviction.

Mr Hollman was charged when he was 21. Credit: Netflix
Mr Hollman was charged when he was 21. Credit: Netflix

Hoping to shine a light on how a wrongful conviction can cause irreparable damage to the defendant, the victims and their respective families, The Innocent Project also details the tireless work carried out by non-profit organisations in a bid to overturn verdicts on each case.

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Speaking at the time, Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck, co-founders of non-profit organisation The Innocence Project, said: "We are thrilled to be part of the groundbreaking Netflix series, The Innocence Files.

"This is truly important television. Each episode reveals - step by step - how the American criminal justice system gets it wrong. These stories feature people whose freedom was stolen because of governments' reliance on junk science, discredited and suggestive eyewitness identification procedures, and prosecutors who engage in misconduct to win at any cost.

"We hope these stories motivate people to take action. There are tried and tested reforms that will improve the system to make it more fair and just. Countless innocent people endure unspeakable suffering in maximum security prisons and death row for crimes they didn't commit.

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"These miscarriages of justice extend a circle of pain and trauma that embraces families, communities, and even victims of crime. We must do better."

Featured Image Credit: CBS Philly

Topics: US News, crime, Netflix

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Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]