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Jury awards $10 million to man who was wrongly convicted of murder

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Posted at 9:18 PM, Feb 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-16 21:18:40-05

DETROIT (AP) — A jury awarded $10 million to a Detroit-area man who spent nearly six years in prison for the killing of a 15-year-old girl before his conviction was thrown out at the request of prosecutors.

The jury said Alexandre Ansari's constitutional rights were violated by a Detroit police detective who concealed evidence in the fatal shooting.

The verdict, returned Thursday in federal court, “restores some of Mr. Ansari's dignity and will allow him to recover from the horrendous experience of being wrongfully convicted of a heinous crime he did not commit,” attorney Wolf Mueller said.

Mueller argued that police had crucial information about a different suspect, but it was not shared with the prosecutor or defense at the 2013 trial in Wayne County court.

The information would have revealed that the fatal shooting of Ileana Cuevas and the wounding of two more people in 2012 was likely arranged by a heroin dealer upset over drug thefts, he said.

A failure to disclose the information would be “egregious," U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III said earlier in the litigation.

The detective had denied wrongdoing. But the prosecutor's office found that he feared for his family in Texas and Mexico if the drug dealer knew he was investigating him for murder, according to evidence in the case.

In 2019, prosecutor Kym Worthy agreed to a "full and complete exoneration" of Ansari, freeing him from a life prison sentence, Mueller said.