A couple of weeks ago I posted about William Lopez and Jeff Deskovic, two men who had been wrongly convicted and imprisoned, then exonerated. Deskovic was released first and started a foundation to find and remedy other wrongful convictions. His first victory was the release of Lopez. The two became good friends before, sadly, Lopez died this month.
Now comes some much-deserved good news:
Justice is served — with a hefty bill.
A Putnam County man wrongly convicted of raping a fellow high school student when he was 16 was awarded Thursday what his lawyers called the largest sum in U.S. history.
Jeff Deskovic won $41,650,000 in a lawsuit against sheriff’s investigator Daniel Stephens and Putnam County.
In 1989, 15-year-old Angela Correa never returned to school after leaving to take pictures for a photography class. Her body was later found beaten, raped and strangled.
Investigators zeroed in on Deskovic, who showed up late that day for school. Authorities said he seemed obsessed with the case, further rousing their suspicion.
Eventually Deskovic was given three lie detector tests over the course of a six-hour interrogation in which he eventually confessed.
He was convicted despite the fact that DNA tests on sperm taken from the victim didn’t match his own. He served well over a decade in prison before new DNA tests found a match to a man named Steven Cunningham, who then confessed to the rape and murder.
Associated Press reports say that because of the terms of a pretrial agreement, Deskovic will receive only $10 million of the award.