2 Wrongfully Convicted Men to Get $900K From State

Dupree Glass, Juan Rayfor spent almost 17 years in prison for crime they didn't commit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 21, 2023 4:21 AM CDT
2 Wrongfully Convicted Men to Get $900K From State
Juan Rayford, second from right, and Dupree Glass, far left, stand with their attorneys Eric Dubin, second from left, and Annee Della Donna, right, at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center Thursday, April 20, 2023, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Two men who served nearly 17 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of attempted murder after a 2004 shooting were declared innocent Thursday by a California judge. Under a new law, the state is required to pay them each $140 for every day they spent behind bars, or about $900,000. The verdicts for Dupree Glass and Juan Rayford concluded a new trial that began in October after a state appeals court panel vacated their convictions and they were freed in 2020, the AP reports. The proceedings included a dramatic confession by the actual shooter, Chad Brandon McZeal, a gang member who’s serving a life sentence for murder in an unrelated case, the defense team said.

After the judge ruled, Glass and Rayford embraced each other and their attorneys. Outside the courthouse, the men were cheered by family members and supporters. Rayford, clutching his baby daughter, called it an "amazing" feeling to have their records finally wiped clean and their reputations restored. "I thought about this day for so long. I thought about it when I was locked up for 17 years. I thought about it for my last two years being free. I waited for this day because, you know, I knew I was innocent of every crime they said I committed," he said. Defense attorneys said the case was the first brought under a law that guarantees compensation for defendants who have their cases thrown out and also allows them to present evidence proving their innocence.

Glass and Rayford were 17 and 18, respectively, when they were arrested after a shooting during an altercation involving a group of teens in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles. Two people were struck by gunfire, but the injuries were not serious, according to court filings. Both defendants were convicted of 11 counts of attempted murder and sentenced to 11 consecutive life sentences. The convictions of Glass and Rayford relied heavily on the testimony of just two witnesses who later recanted their stories. The teens, who had no criminal history, maintained from the beginning that they were not involved in the shooting. Glass, 36, and Rayford, 37, now both work as drivers for Walmart. Rayford is with his high school sweetheart, who waited for him while he was in prison. Both men are new fathers to baby girls.

(More wrongful conviction stories.)

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