JUSTICE

Man Wrongfully Imprisoned for 39 Years Gets $21 Million

A 71-year-old man who spent nearly four decades in prison for murders he did not commit is set to become a millionaire. The city of Simi Valley, California, announced this weekend that it will give Craig Coley $21 million for the 39 years he spent wrongfully incarcerated for the 1978 murders of Rhonda Wicht and her 4-year-old son, Donald. Coley was pardoned in 2017 after DNA evidence exonerated him for the crimes. The California Victim Compensation Board last year awarded him almost $2 million in compensation—$140 for each of the 13,991 days Coley was behind bars. The wrongfully convicted often face battles over how they should be compensated for their imprisonment, but in Coley's case, every level of government was on board. “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,” City Manager Eric Levitt said in a statement.