Donald E. Gates, An innocent man who spent 27 years behind bars for a rape and murder he didn’t commit was framed by police, a federal jury has found.
He was exonerated in 2009, after DNA evidence eliminated him as the killer and rapist, according to the Innocence Project. He was exonerated Dec. 18, 2009.
He filed a federal civil lawsuit against DC after a jury found he was framed by DC cops, the Post said.
The multimillion-dollar settlement was announced Thursday, a day after the jury’s decision.
“I’m absolutely elated,” Gates, who now lives in Tennessee, said in a statement. “The only thing I can do is thank the Lord. I’m hoping the message goes around the country: ‘You can’t violate a black man or black woman’s civil rights, or no American citizen’s civil rights anywhere.’ That’s what I hope.”
The Innocence Project says that on June 22, 1981, Schilling, a 21-year-old Georgetown University student from Locust, N.J., was found raped and murdered in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. She was nude and had been shot five times in the head.
At the time, Schilling was a paralegal on her way home from the law firm where she worked, according to the Daily Mail.
The Washington Post and the Innocence Project reported that U.S. prosecutors traced DNA left at the murder scene to the true culprit, who died in 2011. Prosecutors said he was a convicted offender and temporary janitor who had worked in the same building as the victim.
Sportact Editors and Wire Services