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WOODRIDGE, Ill. (CBS) – Nearly 24 years after being sent to prison for a rape he did not commit, the village of Woodridge has agreed to pay a man five-million dollars in damages.
“This money don’t mean anything. I want my name back,” Marcus Lyons tells CBS 2.
But Lyons doesn’t think that will ever truly happen, even after getting a $5 million wrongful conviction settlement and even after being exonerated for a 1987 rape he didn’t commit.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts Reports
Lyons was 29 years old, living in a Woodridge apartment complex and in the U.S. Navy Reserves and about to get his computer science degree, when he was arrested.
His attorneys say he didn’t fit the attacker’s description at all, but he was still identified by the victim in court.
Lyons is nothing if not persistent. He served 2 ½ years of a six-year sentence and spent the years since trying to clear himself. Fresh out of prison, he nailed himself to a cross outside the DuPage County Courthouse, where he had been convicted.
In 2006, he paid $10,000 to obtain the DNA testing that cleared him. Then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich pardoned him in 2008.
But the money does not make up for time and dreams lost, the 54-year-old says.
Lyons had hoped to command a ship.
“My hopes and dreams – you can never replace those,” he says.
Lyons says if there’s a moral it’s never give up.