After going through a wrongful conviction lawsuit, Obie Anthony and his co-defendant, Reggie Cole, don’t think that the huge $8.3 million lawsuit settlement payment makes up for all the years they spent behind bars. A judge recently threw out Anthony’s murder conviction, but after spending 17 years in prison, Anthony doesn’t feel like the money makes up for the suffering he’s endured.
This lawsuit settlement payment settled a civil lawsuit that showed a murder investigation with many problems, such as perjured testimony, withholding evidence, and ignoring leads pointing to other suspects.
The case goes back to 1994 when Felip Gonazales Angeles shot outside of a brothel in South Los Angeles. Both Anthony and Cole ended up convicted for this murder, even though no physical evidence connecting them to the murder was ever found. John Jones, the pimp running the brothel was the key eyewitness in the case. After being convicted of murder, both men were sent to prison without parole.
In 2000, Cole was charged with murder after stabbing another inmate to death. It was Cole’s claim that he acted in self-defense that brought light to his plight. Eventually, the California Innocence Project started looking into the case and found that Jones fabricated his testimony. Cole’s conviction was overturned in 2009, and two years later Anthony was released and was found innocent of the crime as well.
After both men were found innocent, they sued the city of Los Angeles and the detectives on the case for wrongful imprisonment. The suit alleged that detectives wrote reports mischaracterizing eyewitness accounts, suppressed evidence, and protected Jones, ignoring his illegal activities and failing to pursue alternative theories in the case.
While not all lawsuits result in a settlement payment, in this case, Los Angeles paid out $8.3 million to Obie Anthony. Both Marilyn Bednarski and David McLane represented Anthony in this case, and McLane commented that Anthony was paid such a huge settlement because of police wrongdoing and Anthony’s innocence. However, while Anthony was awarded a settlement, the city has never admitted to any wrongdoing and argues that detectives properly conducted the investigation.
Although Anthony doesn’t feel like the money takes care of his suffering, he does have plans to move on. He plans to use his money to open a transition center for exonerated prisoners, giving them a place to go and people to rely on once they’re released from prison.