Boston Pays $5M Over Wrongful Conviction

A man who sued the city of Boston after serving 15 years for a killing that he testified he didn't commit has received a $5 million settlement ending a decade of litigation, his attorney said.

Shawn Drumgold filed a wrongful conviction lawsuit in 2004, a year after his murder conviction in the 1988 gang crossfire shooting of 12-year-old Tiffany Moore was thrown out when a key witness recanted.

"It is a vindication," Drumgold's attorney Rosemary Scapicchio told The Boston Globe on Wednesday. "He was wrongfully convicted and as a result, he spent 15 years in jail for a crime that he didn't commit."

In 2009, a jury awarded Drumgold $14 million, overturned by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year. Scapicchio said the settlement was reached last month in mediation agreed to by the administration of new Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

"Due to the inherent risk of a jury trial, the city decided to settle the case at this point in time," said Kate Norton, Walsh's spokeswoman told The Associated Press.

Scapicchio told the Globe she's confident another jury would have found in Drumgold's favor if the lawsuit had been retried.

"But Shawn's been waiting 10 years for his case to get resolved," she said. "I think he got to the point where he just didn't want to wait any longer."

Scapicchio said Drumgold has set money aside for college educations for his two children, and is considering going to college himself. He was 24 when he was convicted.

Drumgold was serving life without parole when the Globe reported in 2003 that Boston police had been told a key eyewitness against him suffered from brain cancer during the trial and another witness claimed police fed him details about the killing.

The Suffolk district attorney's office vacated Drumgold's conviction on the grounds his trial was legally flawed but did not say he was innocent or wrongly convicted. No one else has been charged for the killing.

This article was originally published on May 14, 2014.


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