Two males who served practically 17 years in jail after being wrongly convicted of tried homicide after a 2004 taking pictures have been declared harmless Thursday by a California choose. Beneath a brand new legislation, the state is required to pay them every $140 for every single day they spent behind bars, or about $900,000.
The verdicts for Dupree Glass and Juan Rayford concluded a brand new trial that started in October after a state appeals courtroom panel vacated their convictions they usually have been freed in 2020. The proceedings included a dramatic confession by the precise shooter, Chad Brandon McZeal, a gang member who’s serving a life sentence for homicide in an unrelated case, the protection crew mentioned.
After the choose dominated, Glass and Rayford embraced one another and their attorneys. Exterior the courthouse, the lads have been cheered by members of the family and supporters. Rayford, clutching his child daughter, known as it an “wonderful” feeling to have their data lastly cleaned and their reputations restored.
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“I considered this present day for thus lengthy. I considered it once I was locked up for 17 years. I considered it for my final two years being free. I waited for this present day as a result of, you already know, I knew I used to be harmless of each crime they mentioned I dedicated,” he mentioned.
Protection attorneys mentioned the case was the primary introduced underneath a legislation that ensures compensation for defendants who’ve their circumstances thrown out and likewise permits them to current proof proving their innocence.
Glass and Rayford have been 17 and 18, respectively, after they have been arrested after a taking pictures throughout an altercation involving a gaggle of teenagers in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles. Two individuals have been struck by gunfire, however the accidents weren’t severe, based on courtroom filings.
Each defendants have been convicted of 11 counts of tried homicide and sentenced to 11 consecutive life sentences.
“That trial by no means ought to have been introduced within the first place,” protection lawyer Annee Della Donna instructed The Alokito Mymensingh 24. “There was no proof tying them to the taking pictures. Zero.”
The brand new statute, which took impact in 2020, provides the protection an opportunity present that there is a “preponderance of proof” exhibiting innocence, she mentioned. “We proved their innocence past a shadow of a doubt,” Della Donna mentioned.
The convictions of Glass and Rayford relied closely on the testimony of simply two witnesses who later recanted their tales. Throughout a five-year investigation, protection investigators discovered a number of different witnesses who mentioned, “Oh no, they weren’t the shooters, they by no means had a gun,” Della Donna mentioned.
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The teenagers, who had no legal historical past, maintained from the start that they weren’t concerned within the taking pictures. Their case was taken up by the Innocence Rights challenge on the College of California, Irvine Faculty of Regulation.
Glass, 36, and Rayford, 37, now each work as drivers for Walmart. Rayford is together with his highschool sweetheart, who waited for him whereas he was in jail. Each males are new fathers to child women.
“I’m not huge for phrases. However right now is an excellent day. For 20 years we’ve been dwelling this nightmare. It’s lastly over. We are able to go on with our lives,” Glass mentioned Thursday exterior the courthouse.
Los Angeles County Superior Courtroom Decide H. Clay Jacke’s resolution was “an extended, detailed ruling exonerating them for any and all crimes” associated to the taking pictures, mentioned protection lawyer Eric Dubin.
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“At present the choose righted a unsuitable,” Dubin mentioned. “In my over 30 years of attempting circumstances, I’ve by no means skilled such a magical second the place I can see justice come to mild so vividly.”
Dubin mentioned he expects the state Victims Compensation Board to approve the practically $900,000 in compensation due every man underneath the brand new legislation. On high of that, protection attorneys plan on suing the state, county and district lawyer’s workplace for wrongful prosecution, he mentioned.
The district lawyer’s workplace did not instantly reply to a request for touch upon the choose’s resolution.