District of Columbia pays $16.7 million over false imprisonment

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 19, 2015 6:49 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The District of Columbia agreed on Thursday to pay $16.65 million to a man who spent 27 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit, the city's attorney general said.

The man, Donald Gates, 64, was convicted for the 1981 rape and murder of university student Catherine Schilling. He was released from prison in 2009 after DNA evidence cleared him.

A U.S. District Court jury on Wednesday found that two city detectives fabricated and withheld evidence in Gates's case. The jury was deliberating on damages when the settlement was announced.

"Mr. Gates has shown extraordinary fortitude and dignity, and we wish him well as he proceeds with his life," District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine, who had defended police actions in the case, said in a statement.

Gates had already received $1 million from the federal government for its role in the conviction.

DNA testing determined Schilling's killer in 2013, but the man had already died.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Andrew Hay)