Two New York Exonerees Will Receive $15M Settlements for 33 Years Wrongfully Imprisoned
03.06.17 By Innocence Staff
On Friday, the New York Daily News reported that New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced that Amaury Villalobos and William Vasquez, two men exonerated in 2015 of killing six people in a 1980 house fire, will each receive more than $15 million from the state and city for the nearly 33 years they were wrongfully incarcerated.
In 1982, Villabos, 67, Vasquez 66, and Raymond Mora—who died in prison in 1989—were sentenced to 25 years to life after they were convicted of setting a fire in a Park Slope townhouse, killing a woman and her five young children. The only eyewitness in the trial was the building’s owner, Hannah Quick, who accused the three men of setting the fire.
During a review of the case by former Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson’s Conviction Review Unit, prosecutors discovered that Quick made many contradicting statements to police. In addition, before she died in 2014, Quick confessed to family members that she lied to investigators. The reinvestigation also revealed that the arson methods used in the case were outdated and invalid.
Based on this evidence, Vallalobos’ and Vasquez’s murder and arson convictions were vacated by a New York State Supreme Court judge. Mora was exonerated posthumously.
Vallalobos and Vasquez will each receive $9.7 million from the city and $5.75 million from the state. Mora’s family, according to the New York Daily News, has yet to settle its claim against the city.
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