Millions in Settlements for Wrongly Convicted 'Norfolk 4'

Former sailors were wrongly convicted of 1997 rape, murder
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 4, 2018 5:17 PM CST
Wrongly Convicted 'Norfolk 4' Get $8.4M in Settlements
This file photo combination of images provided by the U.S. Navy shows former sailors Eric Wilson, left photo, Danial Williams, second from left, Joe Dick, second from right, and Derek Tice, in undated file photos.   (U.S. Navy via AP, File)

The city of Norfolk has agreed to pay $4.9 million to four former sailors who were wrongly convicted of a woman's rape and murder based on intimidating police interrogations. A copy of the settlement agreement for the "Norfolk Four" was obtained by the AP. The state also has agreed to pay $3.5 million. The payments close out a decades-long case that drew widespread attention as the men's innocence claims were backed by dozens of former FBI agents, ex-prosecutors, and crime novelist John Grisham. "These guys can now put all this behind them and try to recoup their lives," said Tony Troy, a lawyer who represented one of the sailors. The men—Eric Wilson, Danial Williams, Joseph Dick, and Derek Tice—were pardoned by then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe last year of the 1997 rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko.

Moore-Bosko's husband found her stabbed and strangled body in their apartment in July of that year after returning from a week at sea. Williams, who lived in the same building, was quickly identified as a suspect because a neighbor told police he had a crush on the victim. Williams admitted to her rape and murder—the first of a series of confessions, which conflicted with each other, that the men, then-sailors at the Naval base in Norfolk, say were forced by police. DNA evidence matched only one person: Omar Ballard, the fifth man convicted in the case. Ballard, who pleaded guilty in 2000, acknowledged he was solely responsible and is serving a life sentence. Ballard's account was the only one containing information matching the crime scene. In vacating some of the Norfolk Four's convictions, a federal judge once declared that "no sane human being" could find them guilty. (Much more on the case here.)

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