Fifty-three-year-old Jonathan Fleming will receive substantial compensation after spending half of his life in jail on a wrongful conviction in New York.
Fleming was imprisoned after the murder of his friend Darryl Rush in 1989 that took place while he was on a vacation at Disney World. The murder allegedly stemmed from an argument over money, according to prosecutors.
In a statement, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said the city would pay Fleming $6.25 million to settle a $162-million lawsuit filed earlier last year.
"We cannot give back the time that he served, but the City of New York can offer Jonathan Fleming this compensation for the injustice that was committed against him," Stringer added.
Fleming was cleared of charges last year by a judge who proved he was at Florida when the murder took place, finding evidence through telephone records, photos and witness accounts.
He said he had never lost hope that he would be found innocent and released from prison.
“I never gave up. I had faith. I said to myself I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but I’m going to get out,” Fleming told the Guardian, weeks after a judge dismissed his conviction of murder.
Fleming’s lawyers said they were happy that the settlement had come so quickly.
According to his lawyers, he had always maintained his innocence regarding the conviction, claiming that prosecutors ignored the evidence that would have proved his innocence.
"As you can imagine, after sitting in jail for 25 years for a crime he didn't commit, he can't help but feel vindicated," said one of Fleming's lawyers, Anthony Mayol. "On the flip side, that's 25 years that have been stolen, that he'll never get back."