Tennessee man cleared of conviction after 31 years in prison awarded $1 million

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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 …”

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