For over 20 years, Rodell Sanders was serving time in prison for a crime he knew nothing about. 2 days ago, the 51-year-old was vindicated and will be given a $15 million settlement by Chicago authorities.
Rodell has been in prison since 1993. He was accused and arrested for the murder of Phillip Atkins and near-fatal wounding of Stacy Armstrong.
The victims were reported to have been sleeping in the car when they were attacked by 4 men at gunpoint. Back then, Rodell was a member of Gangster Disciples street gang. However he maintained that he was innocent of the crime.
Rodell insisted that he was with his friends on the night of the incident, playing cards; but the authorities did not give him the benefit of the doubt.
On the charges of murder and manslaughter, Rodell Sanders was sentenced to 80 years imprisonment.
After nearly 23 years in prison, an evidence resurfaces to prove he was indeed innocent of the crime.
According to the court records, the witness who lied against Rodell in a written letter confessed to have lied on police orders.
The letter read thus:
“I know that you are still mad at me for helping the police to lie on Rodell about that murder.”
“But I was scared. Like I told you before, the police told me to lie on Rodell and put his name on this (expletive). … They wanted Rodell instead of me because they need me to come to court on another case, then help them put Rodell away forever.”
Rodell’s case was looked into again and several witnesses cross-examined. The new trial vindicated him. The police plotted to pin the crime on him.
“Those were corrupt police officers.”
“From day one, I said they framed me. No one believed me. And now it’s finally come out. I don’t know if it makes things right. I will never get back the 20 years they have taken from me. [And] I lost those years with my family, with my children.”
While in prison Rodell was financially supported by his family so he could self-educate himself on Law. Now, Sanders works in the law firm that helped him prove his innocence.
Rodell’s $15 million settlement was approved by U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve. It is said that his will be one of the largest cash settlements for being wrongly convicted.