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Finance Committee OKs $3.2 Million Payment To Man Cleared Of 2002 Murder

Scales Of Justice

(Credit: CBS)

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Updated 10/02/12 – 3:11 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The City Council’s Finance Committee has endorsed a multi-million dollar financial settlement for a man who served 8 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, the City Council Finance Committee has signed off on a $3.4 million payment to Maurice Patterson, who was wrongfully convicted of murder. Patterson was sentenced to 30 years in prison, and served eight years for a murder he always insisted he didn’t commit.

First Assistant Corporation Counsel Leslie Darling told aldermen Patterson’s lawyers accused police investigators of not telling them about DNA evidence, which pointed to someone else as the possible killer.

“Patterson eventually received an exculpatory DNA lab report, through his own Freedom of Information Act request, leading to his release,” she said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Blood found on a knife at the murder scene did not belong to Patterson. The Center on Wrongful Convictions said the blood was linked to a man with a history of violence, who has never been charged in the case.

The victim, Robert Head, was stabbed to death in a fight over drugs on the city’s South Side in 2002.

Patterson, 46, was convicted of murder in the case, but freed two years ago after obtaining the lab report that vindicated him.

Prosecutors initially said the knife was not tied to Head’s death, but a DNA test showed it had his blood on it.

A judge ordered a new trial for Patterson nearly three years ago, but prosecutors later dropped all charges and Patterson was set free.

Also Tuesday, the Finance Committee endorsed to a $1.3 million settlement for William Kurtz, who was severely injured when he was hit by a drunk driver who was being chased by police at the time. A supervisor had ordered the officers to halt the chase.

Both settlements will be presented to the full City Council at its next meeting on Wednesday.