Vindicated Murder Suspects Receive Massive Payout

( – After being convicted of a murder they didn’t commit and spending 36 years in prison, three men will be receiving $48 million from Baltimore, Maryland.

The settlement was approved by the Baltimore City Board of Estimates on Oct. 18. The settlement, the largest in the history of Maryland, closes the federal lawsuit brought by the three men after they were exonerated in 2019.

Each of the three men, Ransom Watkins, Alfred Chestnut, and Andrew Stewart, will receive $14.9 million. According to Baltimore Police Department chief legal counsel Justin Conroy, the remaining $3.3 million will cover legal fees.

Known today as the “Harlem Park Three,” the three men were sentenced to jail as teens and are now “in their fifties,” Conroy stated.

In November 1983, the three men were arrested for the murder of DeWitt Duckett, 14. Duckett had been walking to class when he was assaulted and shot over a blue Georgetown Starter jacket. Then 16 years old, Stewart, Chestnut and Watkins had been visiting the school earlier that day and had then been removed from the Harlem Park Junior High School by a security guard. The lead homicide detective Donald Kincaid focused on the three men because they had been seen at the school that day by multiple people. A Georgetown jacket was found by police at Chestnut’s home, though his mother had a receipt for it.

In 2018, Chestnut filed a records request which uncovered new evidence in the case. The records showed that multiple witnesses had seen a different 18-year-old suspect, Michael Willis, flee the scene and ditch a gun as police arrived at the school. That suspect was killed in 2002. Despite the other suspect the investigation had focused on the three men.

After a reinvestigation, they were found innocent by the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.

The three previously received a $8.7 million settlement from the Maryland Board of Public Works in March 2020.

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