A man who spent 35 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit is about to receive a $1.75 million settlement from the state of Michigan.

Wrongly Convicted More Than Three Decades Ago

Louis Wright was convicted on sexual assault charges against an 11-year-old girl in Albion, Michigan in 1988.

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Police settled on Wright as their suspect after an off-duty police officer said he had seen the man in the neighborhood around the time of the crime. Authorities say Wright confessed, although there was neither a signed confession nor a recording of any such admission.

Wright pleaded 'no contest' to the charges and was sentenced to spend 25 to 50 years in prison. According to WZZM-TV, he attempted to withdraw the plea but the request was denied.

Conviction Overturned Thanks to the Innocence Project

The Cooley Law School Innocence Project investigated Wright's conviction. One of the organization's findings revealed that the victim - 11 years old at the time - was never asked to identify the man who assaulted her.

Wright was eventually cleared thanks to DNA sampling. He said knew he would eventually be exonerated when his mouth was swabbed for DNA testing last year.

"I spent the last couple months in prison with a smile on my face. Everyone thought I had something up my sleeve," he said.

Life After Prison for Louis Wright

Prisoners who are wrongly convicted are eligible to receive $50,000 for each year erroneously spent in a Michigan prison.

After his release in November of last year, Wright says he is enjoying opportunities to reunite with family. He plans to use some of the $1.75 million payout to buy a house and a vehicle for his sister.


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Gallery Credit: George McIntyre

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