Two men to receive $900k each for being wrongfully incarcerated for nearly 17 years

Francis Akhalbey April 21, 2023
Juan Rayford (left) and Dupree Glass (right) were wrongfully incarcerated for nearly 17 years -- Photo Credit: Innocence Rights project at the University of California, Irvine School of Law

Dupree Glass and Juan Rayford had no criminal history when they were wrongfully convicted of attempted murder. They ended up spending nearly 17 years in prison before they were ultimately released in 2020 after their convictions were vacated by a state appeals court panel, per The Associated Press.

On Thursday, a California judge moved to declare them innocent – bringing an end to a new trial that commenced in October and saw a convicted gang member admitting to being the actual shooter in the 2004 shooting incident. 

Per a new California law, the men are entitled to receive almost $900,000 each as compensation from the state; that is $140 for every day they were wrongfully incarcerated. 

“I thought about this day for so long. I thought about it when I was locked up for 17 years. I thought about it for my last two years being free. I waited for this day because, you know, I knew I was innocent of every crime they said I committed,” Rayford said.

Glass and Rayford were arrested in connection with the 2004 shooting after a group of teens got into an altercation in Lancaster, Los Angeles. The gunfire resulted in two people sustaining non-serious gunshot wounds. At the time of their arrests, Glass was 17 while Rayford was 18.

Though Glass and Rayford maintained their innocence, they were sentenced to 11 consecutive life sentences after they were found guilty of 11 counts of attempted murder. “That trial never should have been brought in the first place,” defense attorney Annee Della Donna told The Associated Press. “There was no evidence tying them to the shooting. Zero.”

Della Donna also said the new statute allows the defense to prove there is a “preponderance of evidence” clearing a person’s name. “We proved their innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt,” she added.

The testimonies of only two witnesses were mainly used as the basis to convict Glass and Rayford. But those witnesses later recanted their testimonies. Defense investigators also managed to locate other witnesses during an investigation that lasted five years. Della Donna stated that those witnesses said, “Oh no, they weren’t the shooters, they never had a gun.”

“I’m not big for words. But today is a wonderful day. For 20 years we’ve been living this nightmare. It’s finally over. We can go on with our lives,” Glass said after the ruling.

Defense attorney Eric Dubin said the new law should pave the way for Glass and Rayford to each receive almost $900,000 as compensation for being wrongfully imprisoned. Besides that, defense attorneys also intend to file a wrongful prosecution lawsuit against the state, county, and district attorney’s office.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: April 21, 2023

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