Cleveland man who spent 23 years in jail for murder he did not commit awarded $1.3 million in settlement

November 18, 2019 at 09:30 am | News

Francis Akhalbey

Francis Akhalbey | Staff Writer

November 18, 2019 at 09:30 am | News

Photo Credit: cleveland.com

Now 62 years, Evin King was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1995 for the murder of his then partner Crystal Hudson, though he maintained his innocence. His conviction was overturned in 2017.

According to Cleveland.com, King is set to receive $1.3 million in settlement from the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County after filing a wrongful conviction lawsuit. The settlement, which was approved by the County Council on November 12 will see King receive $550,000 from the city and $750,000 from the county.

King filed the lawsuit last year, stating that he lost a considerable amount of his life behind bars as a result of his wrongful incarceration.

His unfortunate ordeal began in 1994 when Hudson’s body was found by the police in her apartment. King, who was in the apartment on that day, was subsequently arrested and charged for her murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with his eligibility for parole after 15 years.

During his trial, prosecutors accused King of strangling Hudson after he found out she cheated on him though no physical evidence linking him to the murder could be established by investigators, Cleveland.com further reports.

The DNA from semen that was extracted from Hudson’s body did not match King’s. Investigators also could not test and match skin cells that was found under her fingernails as there wasn’t any technology to perform such an action at that time.

According to King in the suit, former coroner Elizabeth Balraj, her team as well as detectives conspired to pay little credence to the physical evidence. In a false statement, investigators implied King was not being truthful about his knowledge of where Hudson’s body was just because he provided information on where her leather jacket was. Investigators also reportedly coerced Hudson’s children to make statements to support their agenda during questioning.

The suit further revealed that employees from the coroner’s office “fabricated false opinions, totally unsupported by the contemporary science and the physical evidence.”

King’s case was taken up by the Ohio Innocence Project, who in 2009, tested the skin cells and semen that was found on Hudson’s body with new technology, according to Cleveland.com. The results from that test did not match King’s DNA. Both results, however, matched the same person. King’s conviction was subsequently overturned on April 19, 2017, by Common Pleas Judge Brian Corrigan. He gained his freedom that same day.

The city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, in the settlement agreement as well as the lawsuit, however, deny any liability in the former and the claims in the latter.

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