Shawn Williams, a black man from New York City who spent 24 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, has been awarded a $10.5 million settlement years after his case was dropped.
In 1993, Shawn Williams, who was only 19 at that time, was charged with the murder of his neighbor Marvin Mason in Brooklyn, New York. Williams was found guilty of the fatal shooting in August 1994 and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
The prosecutors relied on the testimony of a woman who said she saw Williams with a gun at the crime scene because there was no forensic evidence linking him to the murder.
In 2013, the woman recanted her testimony, claiming that retired Detective Louis Scarcella, a former Brooklyn homicide detective who has been accused of framing suspects and coercing witnesses from the late 1980s to the 1990s, pressured her into naming Shawn Williams as the gunman.
In 2018, Williams’ case was dismissed, and he was released from prison.
Williams, who is now 47 years old, recently settled his federal civil rights lawsuit against Scarcella and two other officers for $10.5 million with New York City officials.
Williams’ conviction was the 14th wrongful conviction overturned as a result of Scarcella’s alleged involvement. Among the wrongful convictions linked to Scarcella, the settlement is thought to be the largest.
“No amount of money can give me back the years they took from me,” Williams told the New York Times in a statement. “But I am going to keep rebuilding my life and looking ahead to a brighter future.”