Wrongly convicted Black man wins 10.5M lawsuit after 24 years in prison

May 11, 2022 - 02:35 PM

Nationwide — Shawn Williams, an African American man from New York City who served 24 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, has finally been awarded a $10.5 million settlement years after his conviction has been overturned.

Williams was only 19-years old when he was charged with killing his neighbor Marvin Mason in Brooklyn, New York in 1993. In August 1994, Williams was convicted for the fatal shooting and was sentenced to 25 years to life.

Without any forensic evidence connecting Williams to the murder, the prosecutors relied on the testimony of a woman who said she saw him at the crime scene with a gun.

In 2013, the woman recanted her testimony, saying that she was coerced into naming Williams as the gunman by retired Detective Louis Scarcella, a former Brooklyn homicide who has been accused of framing suspects and coercing witnesses from the late 1980s to 1990s.

Williams’ case was thrown out and he was released from prison in 2018.

Williams, who is now 47-years old, has only recently reached a $10.5 million settlement with the New York City officials in his federal civil rights lawsuit against Scarcella and two other officers.

Williams’ conviction was the 14th wrongful conviction allegedly orchestrated by Scarcella that was overturned. The settlement is believed to be the largest among the wrongful convictions linked to Scarcella.

“No amount of money can give me back the years they took from me,” Williams said in a statement to the New York Times. “But I am going to keep rebuilding my life and looking ahead to a brighter future.”

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