Man who spent 12 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder is awarded $1 million
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A Grundy County man who was wrongfully convicted of first degree murder has been awarded $1 million from the state this week.
After spending 12 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit, the former UPS worker's conviction was proven wrong on 2 August, 2019, and he was exonerated by Governor Bill Lee.
He entered what's called a best-interest plea, or an 'Alford plea' - meaning the defendant maintains his innocence - to a charge of aggravated assault - but then had to get to work to clear his name of that charge as well.
Following his exoneration, a group called the Tennessee Innocence Project (TIP) advocated for compensation for his time in jail as an innocent man.
According to the Innocence Project, 'any exonerated or pardoned person is entitled to a total of $1,000,000 for the entirety of a wrongful incarceration'.
Tennessee's Board of Claims voted to award Braseel $1 million on 23 June.
Braseel spoke to Local 3 on Tuesday (2 August), saying: "According to the law and the State of Tennessee, they gave me all they possibly could."
Now 39, Braseel had been wrongfully charged with first-degree murder, robbery and aggravated assault in the 2006 beating death of Burrows and the attack on his sister, Becky Hill, and her son, Kirk Braden.
Hill and Braden have both since died.
At the time of the murder, the then-22-year-old Braseel was spending a weekend with friends in the Grundy County town of Coalmont.
Braseel was named a suspect the next day based on a photo lineup and a description of 'a thin man with red hair who drove away in a gold-colored car' - both issues challenged by the defense in subsequent appeals.
Braseel was quoted as saying he feels incredibly blessed to be home and with his family and friends once again - and to top off his celebrations, he and his wife also welcomed their first child this week, too.