A 53-year-old man, who was exonerated after wrongly spending 16 years in prison, was on Monday fatally shot by a Georgia deputy. According to Sky News, authorities said Leonard Allen Cure was shot and killed by the deputy following a traffic stop on Interstate 95.
Cure wrongly spent 16 years in prison after he received a life sentence in 2003 following accusations of robbing a Florida drug store while armed. Cure initially had other convictions. He eventually gained his freedom in April 2020 after a judge determined he had credible alibis that had been initially ignored. The judge also ruled there wasn’t any physical evidence or credible witness testimony to link Cure to the scene.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has since announced it is going to conduct an independent investigation into Cure’s shooting death. In a statement, the GBI said Cure was pulled over by a Camden County deputy at about 7:30 a.m. Cure is said to have exited the car “at the deputy’s request” and also complied with the law enforcement official’s commands. But after learning he was going to be arrested, he ceased complying with the officer’s commands, the GBI stated.
Authorities said Cure “assaulted the deputy” after the deputy tased him. “The deputy used the Taser for a second time and an ASP baton; however, Cure still did not comply,” the GBI stated. “The deputy pulled out his gun and shot Cure. EMT’s treated Cure, but he later died.”
Cure gained his freedom through the help of The Innocence Project of Florida. The non-profit group’s executive director, Seth Miller, had a conversation with Cure’s family after he was shot and killed, Sky News reported.
“I can only imagine what it’s like to know your son is innocent and watch him be sentenced to life in prison, to be exonerated and… then be told that once he’s been freed, he’s been shot dead,” Miller said.
Cure’s death comes some months after he was awarded $817,000 as compensation for being wrongfully incarcerated. “No amount of money will get those years back for Mr Cure or give him peace but it is a small gesture that recognizes Mr Cure was wronged and that we, in the State of Florida and in the justice system, will help him and compensate him,” Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor said after Cure received the compensation.
“After he was freed and exonerated by our office, he visited prosecutors at our office and participated in training to help our staff do their jobs in the fairest and most thorough way possible.”
Broward assistant state attorney Arielle Demby Berger also said: “I’ve gotten to know Mr Cure, ‘Lenny’, these past years and he has encouraged our work as well as helped us train future generations of prosecutors.
“Lenny has shared with me that his dream was one day to work in a cubicle instead of doing manual labour. Now, Lenny can go to college and surpass his dreams.”