SIKESTON, Mo. (AP) — A southeastern Missouri city has agreed to an $8 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by a man who spent 17 years in prison for murder before the state Supreme Court overturned his conviction.
Jonathan Douglass, the city manager of Sikeston, announced the settlement Friday with David Robinson, who sued the city after he was released from prison in May 2018 when a judge ruled there was clear evidence that he didn’t kill local bar owner Sheila Box in 2000, the Southeast Missourian reported.
Robinson alleged in his lawsuit that Sikeston police knew he was innocent in Box’s death but helped stop his conviction from being overturned during two appeals.
Robinson was convicted of killing Box as she left a Sikeston bar, even though no physical evidence linked him to the crime and two witnesses who placed him at the scene recanted their testimony. Another man, Romanze Mosby, confessed to several people in 2004 that he killed Box, but he would not sign an affidavit making the confession official and then killed himself in his cell five years later. His confession was never introduced as evidence.
The state Supreme Court overturned Robinson’s conviction in May 2018 and he was released after a judge appointed to review the case for the court found there was clear and convincing evidence that Robinson had not committed the crime. Prosecutors decided not to retry him.
Robinson said police framed him because they didn’t like him. He acknowledged to The Associated Press in an interview that he had a criminal record that began when he was 15. But he always said he was at a family gathering when Box was shot, and three relatives verified his alibi.
Douglass said the city will pay about $75,000 of the settlement, with the rest coming from its insurance.