Man wrongfully imprisoned for 20 years awarded $45 million

Joe Harker

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Man wrongfully imprisoned for 20 years awarded $45 million

Featured Image Credit: 2 NBC

A man who spent 20 years behind bars for crimes he didn't commit has now been awarded $45 million in a settlement.

In 1991, Roger 'Dean' Gillispie was convicted of kidnapping and raping 22-year-old twin sisters and a 28-year-old woman in Ohio along with aggravated robbery.

He faced spending the next 56 years in prison and always maintained his innocence, eventually managing to walk to freedom in 2011 after spending two entire decades behind bars.

However, it wasn't until 2021 that he was actually declared innocent of the crimes he had been wrongfully convicted of.

That paved the way for Gillispie to launch a civil trial seeking compensation for the time he was imprisoned after a judge decreed that 'no physical evidence' had ever tied him to the case and that there had been suppression of evidence.

Now, Dean has been awarded a settlement of $45 million, the largest pay-out in Ohio's history.

Roger 'Dean' Gillispie spent 20 years in prison for crimes he didn't commit. Credit: Columbus Dispatch
Roger 'Dean' Gillispie spent 20 years in prison for crimes he didn't commit. Credit: Columbus Dispatch

According to The Columbus Dispatch, a jury found that Gillispie's rights had been violated by detective Scott Moore, who hid evidence that would have helped his defence and made him seem larger than he was in pictures of a suspect lineup to trick the victims.

Mark Godsey, director of the Ohio Innocence Project which worked to free Gillispie from his wrongful imprisonment, welcomed the move but said 'nothing can repay' the horrors Dean had experienced.

He said: "The horror inflicted on Dean and his family and community is hard to wrap your mind around.

"The way the authorities pushed through a conviction and then fought back and refused to admit a mistake was so disappointing. Nothing can repay Dean for the horror."

"The jury's verdict sends a strong message that those in power need to change the way they do things."

Gillispie upon his release in 2011. Credit: WCPO 9
Gillispie upon his release in 2011. Credit: WCPO 9

Gillispie took the moment to call for justice for the thousands of other people who had been wrongfully imprisoned and spent so much of their lives behind bars for crimes they hadn't committed.

He said: "I'm just one of 3,199 people that this happened to in the United States of America.

"Those people have served over 28,000 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. This has to stop. This system has to be fixed. The Ohio Innocence Project saved my life."

The jury in Gillispie's civil lawsuit which saw him awarded $45 million ruled that detective Moore had claimed a witness in the case had positively identified him when they had not.

He later told the victims they might not recognise Dean when they saw him in court, with the detective claiming the innocent man had 'dyed his hair'.

They were also shown evidence that the detective failed to disclose, including receipts which proved Gillispie was actually in Kentucky when the crimes occurred.

Topics: News, US News, Crime

Joe Harker
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