Man Wrongfully Imprisoned For 20 Years Awarded $45 million

Chisom Ndianefo
Close-up shot of a man behind bars
Unsplash | Quỳnh Lê Mạnh

Roger Dean Gillispie came from being a man cuffed to being a millionaire after 20 years of being wrongly convicted for a crime he didn't commit.

He was found guilty of aggravated robbery in Ohio in 1991 and kidnapping and raping a pair of 22-year-old twin sisters and a 28-year-old lady. He faced a further 56 years in prison but consistently maintained his innocence. After more than 20 years in jail, he could finally walk out in 2011.

Keep reading to find out more.

Wrongly Convicted

Close-up shot Roger 'Dean' Gillispie
other | Roger 'Dean' Gillispie / Unilad

He wasn't found not guilty of the offenses for which he had been wrongly convicted until 2021, though. After a judge ruled that "no physical evidence" had ever related him to the case and that there had been evidence suppression, it opened the door for Gillispie to start a civil trial in which he sought compensation for the period he had been imprisoned.

Highest Payout

A $45 million settlement was given to Gillispie, who has spent more than 30 years attempting to clean his record after being found guilty in 1991 of raping and kidnapping three women in two separate incidents in Miami Township and Harrison Township. This is the highest payout in Ohio history.

An Attempt To Clear His Name

He requested a new trial in 2008, claiming that new information had come to light, including the name of a different suspect. He also claimed that unreleased police records that may have ruled him out as a suspect had never been provided to the defense.

Justice At Last

The convictions of Gillispie were overturned, and a new trial was authorized. He was eventually released from jail, and the judge dismissed the matter with prejudice.

Getting Support From Friends And Family

After serving more than 20 years in jail, he was finally freed in 2011 thanks to the tireless work of his family, the Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati Law School, and other parties.

Violated Rights

His legal complaint was made possible by the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court's declaration of him as "a wrongly imprisoned individual" in December of last year.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that a jury determined that Gillispie's rights had been violated by investigator Scott Moore, who withheld information that would have aided his defense and exaggerated his size in photographs of a suspect lineup to deceive the victims.

Unjust Imprisonment

The move was hailed, but Mark Godsey, director of the Ohio Innocence Project, who campaigned to liberate Gillispie from his unjust imprisonment, said "nothing will recompense" the atrocities Dean had gone through.

"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."

The Errors Of Being Wrongly Accused

Gillispie used the opportunity to demand justice for the thousands of additional individuals who had been unfairly detained and had lived a significant portion of their life in jail for crimes they had not committed.

"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."

In the United States of America, this only happened to one out of 3,199 persons, he continued.

Using His Platform To Assist Others

The jury found that detective Moore had falsely asserted that a witness in the case had positively identified him in Gillispie's civil complaint, which resulted in a $45 million settlement.

They also displayed information the investigator had concealed, such as receipts demonstrating that Gillispie was in Kentucky when the crimes were committed.

The Ohio Innocence Project's first case involved Gillispie, who claimed to be the 14th prisoner freed due to their work. Since his release, Gillispie has taken a position on the board of the Ohio Innocence Project, where he supports the reintegration of other ex-offenders into society.

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