Jimmy Ray Bromgard, who was exonerated in 2002 after spending more than 12 years in Montana prison for a rape he didn’t commit, settled a civil lawsuit with the state of Montana on Friday for $3.5 million, according to press reports. He sued the state and several officials in 2004, alleging that negligence by officers and officials led to his 1987 wrongful conviction.
Bromgard was convicted partly based on the false testimony of forensic analyst Arnold Melnikoff, who said hairs from the crime matched Bromgard and cited fabricated statistics on the stand. In a statement Friday, Bromgard said the state should review all cases in which hair evidence led to conviction, in case more innocent people remain behind bars.
"I urge the attorney general to appoint an independent examiner to conduct DNA testing on the hairs in every criminal case in which Melnikoff declared a match," Bromgard said in a statement released by his attorneys. "DNA and the truth set me free. The state of Montana should not be allowed to ignore its duty to seek the truth in all of these other criminal cases."
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. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 01/12/08