In his final hours, Ronnie Long was awarded $25 million in damages after spending forty-four years in prison for a crime he did not commit. In 1976, the black man was convicted of robbery and rape, and the trial found evidence had been hidden. As well as the payment, the ex-convict also received a formal apology from the US city where he was tried.
Although the incident occurred in 2020, the fact became relevant again last Tuesday when the city of Concord, North Carolina, posted news about the case on its official website. “He was wrongfully sentenced to forty-four years, three months and 17 days in prison for a crime he did not commit,” he wrote in a public apology.
He served 44 years in the United States for a crime he did not commit and received compensation
Long was convicted in 1976, at age 21, and released in 2020, at age 65. At the time, he was tried and convicted of robbing and raping a white woman, CBS News reported. As the man has claimed for years, the jury was made up entirely of white men and hand-picked by Cabarrus County police officers.
Thanks to the legal aid he received in prison, Long was able to prove that more than forty fingerprints from the crime scene did not match his own, and that they were never produced at trial. Likewise, semen samples were allegedly never shared with the defense and later disappeared. After a review of the case due to irregularities, Long was summoned to a hearing and was released in 2020 after 44 years in prison. While free, he was first awarded the maximum legal compensation for miscarriage of justice, $750,000, and was later paid $3 million by the National Bureau of Investigation.
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