A Tennessee man cleared of a rape and burglary conviction after spending 31 years in prison was awarded $1 million by the Tennessee Board of Claims, The Tennessean reported.
Lawrence McKinney, 61, was awarded the cash after a unanimous vote by the board. He was released from prison in 2009 because of new DNA evidence that cleared him of rape and burglary charges handed down in Memphis in 1978.
McKinney will receive $353,000 up front to pay his attorney fees and debts and also to buy a vehicle, the Tennessean reported. The remaining $647,000 will be distributed in a monthly annuity that will pay McKinney $3,350 per month for life beginning on May 1, the newspaper reported.
The payment is guaranteed for a minimum of 10 years. If McKinney should die within that span, the balance will be paid to his wife, or his estate if she also does not survive, the Tennessean reported.
The $1 million award is the maximum amount the board was allowed to allot for McKinney. Gov. Bill Haslam granted an executive exoneration to McKinney in December.
“We want to thank the board and the governor for standing by this man and seeing that justice was done,” said David Raybin, one of McKinney’s attorneys. "No amount of money can compensate somebody for that long a time (for wrongful imprisonment), but it's the statement that it makes that is important as well …”
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.