Evin King, a Black man who spent 23 years behind bars after being accused of a murder he did not commit, has been awarded a $1.3 million settlement. He filed a wrongful conviction lawsuit against the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County after his conviction was overturned in 2017.
In 1994, King was arrested and charged for the murder of his then-partner Crystal Hudson, whose body was found in her apartment. A year later, he was sentenced to life in prison with his eligibility for parole after 15 years.
During the trial, prosecutors claimed that King strangled Hudson to death after he found out that he cheated on him. However, there was no physical evidence that connected him to the murder as the DNA from the semen extracted from Hudson’s body did not match King’s.
In the lawsuit that was filed last year, King stated that former coroner Elizabeth Balraj conspired with the detectives to disregard the physical evidence. Investigators also apparently coerced Hudson’s children to testify in accordance with their agenda.
Moreover, the lawsuit revealed that staff from the coroner’s office “fabricated false opinions, totally unsupported by the contemporary science and the physical evidence.”
King, who has since maintained his innocence, received support from the Ohio Innocence Project. In 2009, the skin cells and semen found on Hudson’s body, which were initially not tested, have been tested using new technology. The results from the test did not match King and both actually matched another person.
His conviction was overturned and he was released in April 2017. He filed a lawsuit a year after, claiming he lost a considerable amount of his life in prison because of the wrongful incarceration.
The settlement will award King $550,000 from the city of Cleveland and $750,000 from the county. However, they denied any liability and claims on the case.