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Man who spent 28 years in jail after wrongful murder conviction awarded $9.8m

An innocent driver who spent 28 years in jail after he was wrongly convicted of murder has been awarded $9.8million (£7million).

Chester Hollman III was 21 when he was charged in 1991 with killing a student in a botched robbery in Philadelphia, US.

He had no criminal record and worked as an armoured car driver.

In 2019, a judge ordered the then 49-year-old should be released after nearly three decades behind bars.

Police and prosecutors had built their case on fabricated statements from people they coerced as witnesses, the judge said.

They had also withheld evidence which pointed to the actual perpetrators, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

His tale was covered in Netflix series The Innocence Files last year, which looked at wrongful convictions.

The city of Philadelphia has now agreed to pay out the huge sum, which is one of the largest wrongful-conviction settlements in its history.

In a statement, Mr Hollman said: “There are no words to express what was taken from me.

“But this settlement closes out a difficult chapter in my life as my family and I now embark on a new one.”

Despite the settlement being resolved swiftly, police and city officials did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the deal.

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Mr Hollman’s lawyer Amelia Green said: “There was irrefutable evidence that Chester was innocent, is innocent and has always been innocent and would never have been wrongfully convicted aside from extraordinary police misconduct.

“He’s doing the best he can to move forward.”

She also described him as an incredibly strong person.

Mr Hollman was exonerated by the judge after District Attorney Larry Krasner’s Conviction Integrity Unit agreed to review his case in 2018.

The unit concluded it was near-impossible he had carried out the killing.

Both Mr Hollman and his lawyers had maintained he was targeted because he was a black man driving a white SUV.

They said the vehicle matched the description of a car seen leaving the crime scene.

But no physical evidence linked him to the shooting of Tae-Jung Ho, a University of Pennsylvania student.

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