A man in the US state of California who spent nearly 40 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit has reached a $21 million settlement with the city of Simi Valley.
Craig Coley, 71, was wrongfully convicted in 1979 and sentenced to life in prison for the 1978 murder of his former fiance, Rhonda Wicht, and her 4-year-old son, Donald, at their apartment.
Coley, who had always maintained his innocence, was pardoned in 2017 by then California Governor Jerry Brown, based on DNA evidence found by investigators.
“While no amount of money can make up for what happened to Mr. Coley, settling this case is the right thing to do for Mr. Coley and our community,” Simi Valley City Manager Eric Levitt said on Saturday in a statement.
The 39 years Coley spent behind bars was the longest prison term ever overturned in California, the statement said.
Mike Bender, a close friend and former police detective in Simi Valley, had pushed for Coley’s…