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Man Suing Hertz After Spending Nearly Five Years In Prison For Murder He Didn't Commit

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Man Suing Hertz After Spending Nearly Five Years In Prison For Murder He Didn't Commit

A man is suing Hertz after he spent almost five years in prison for a murder he did not commit, and claims that the car rental company took nearly three years to release a record that would have seen him exonerated.

Michigan resident Herbert Alford was convicted of second degree murder in 2016, then released in 2020 after Hertz Corporation provided a receipt that proved he was renting a car at Lansing Airport just minutes before the incident took place.

Hertz only brought the documents to the attention of the court in 2018, by which time Alford had spent a whole load of time in prison for something that he didn't do.

What's more, his lawyers claim they contacted Hertz for that receipt more than two years earlier.

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Alford with his lawyer in December 2020. Credit: PA
Alford with his lawyer in December 2020. Credit: PA

In their complaint, Alford's legal team said: "Had the defendants not ignored and disobeyed numerous court orders requiring them to produce the documentation that eventually freed Mr. Alford, he would not have spent over 1,700 days incarcerated."

Back in 2011, Alford was mistakenly identified as the person who shot and killed 23-year-old Michael Adams at a strip mall in Lansing, Michigan, according to the US National Registry of Exonerations.

In 2015, another person who had been arrested on another drug-related charge 'cut a deal with police' and provided information that identified Alford as the killer.

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Then, in 2016, he was wrongfully convicted of second degree murder.

His attorneys then contacted Hertz to provide information that would support his alibi, but they didn't get back to them until 2018, by which point Alford had been convicted of murder, along with a string of other charges.

The receipts proved that Alford couldn't have been at the scene of the crime. Credit: PA
The receipts proved that Alford couldn't have been at the scene of the crime. Credit: PA

The documents they provided prove that Alford was renting a car at the airport, which is around 20 minutes away, just minutes before Adams was shot and killed.

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All charges were dismissed against him in February 2020, but he also spent until December 2020 on a bond, according to the complaint.

His lawyers now claim he would have been exonerated some time before that if Hertz had provided the requested information at the time they were asked.

A spokesperson for Hertz said that the company was 'deeply saddened' to hear about Alford's experience, adding: "While we were unable to find the historic rental record from 2011 when it was requested in 2015, we continued our good faith efforts to locate it,

"With advances in data search in the years following, we were able to locate the rental record in 2018 and promptly provided it."

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Michael Adams was killed in 2011. Credit: Ingham County Prosecutors
Michael Adams was killed in 2011. Credit: Ingham County Prosecutors

Alford's lawyer told CNN: "He [Alford] is going through some things right now,

"He's trying to figure out his next move... and we're hopeful that, you know, he's going to get back on track shortly."

Alford is seeking compensation of $25,000 (£17,943), but his lawyer added that there is 'no dollar figure that's going to make this right'.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: US News, crime, Prison

Tom Wood
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