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Man serves 26 years before evidence leads to release

A man was convicted of killing his entire family, including his wife and a pair of young daughters. He went to jail and spent 26 years behind bars.

The incident happened in 1985, when a fire broke out in the family's home. The man was severely burned in the fire. His wife passed away, along with a 3-year-old daughter and an 11-month-old daughter.

Then, in 2012, a judge determined that the evidence that put him there was inaccurate. He was cleared of the conviction and released.

The man was accused of using gasoline to burn down the house and kill the family. He said it could have been the result of smoking in the home or lighting candles.

The case is still not resolved because the man is attempting to use Michigan's Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act to claim compensation for those 26 years in jail. Under the act, he can ask for $50,000 per year.

The state does not want to pay. One official noted that they still felt circumstantial evidence suggested he did it intentionally. While that was not enough to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, the state does not want to pay him more than $1 million as a result.

The man said he's angry about that. He feels that he's entitled to the money because he was wrongfully convicted and locked up for nearly three decades.

This case shows just how costly a wrongful conviction can be and how complex these cases can get. It is very important for those who feel they've been falsely convicted to know all of their legal options.

Source:, "Cleared of killing family, man wants pay for 26 years in prison," John Agar, March 05, 2018

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