Man exonerated after 24 years in prison awarded $3.25M

HICKORY, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man who served 24 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit has been awarded $3.25 million in a settlement with the city of Hickory.

Media outlets report the Hickory City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the settlement agreement with Willie Grimes.

Grimes was convicted in 1988 of raping a 69-year-old Hickory woman and sentenced to life plus nine years.

He was paroled in 2012 while still maintaining his innocence. The state Innocence Inquiry Commission investigated his case and found fingerprints from the case did not match Grimes’ prints.

That same year, the commission decided enough credible evidence of innocence existed to refer Grimes’ case to a three-judge panel, which then exonerated him.

In 2014, Grimes filed a lawsuit against the city and various officials.

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