Connecticut to pay $25m settlement to men wrongly convicted in 1985 murder
Connecticut to pay $25m settlement to men wrongly convicted in 1985 murder | Connecticut
Connecticut has agreed to pay a $25m settlement to Ralph “Ricky” Birch and Shawn Henning, who were wrongly convicted for a brutal murder in 1985. Their convictions were partly based on evidence presented by forensic scientist Dr Henry Lee, who was later found liable for fabricating evidence in the case. Despite the lack of forensic evidence linking Birch and Henning to the murder, they spent three decades in prison before their convictions were overturned in 2019. The charges against them were dismissed the following year.
Wrongfully convicted men receive justice
Ralph “Ricky” Birch and Shawn Henning were only 17 and 18 years old when they were convicted for the 1985 murder of Everett Carr. Dr Henry Lee, a renowned forensic scientist, testified about “blood” evidence on a towel and how blood from the victim’s wounds had spattered in an “uninterrupted” fashion. However, no forensic evidence existed linking Birch and Henning to the crime, and no blood was found on their clothes or in their car. The Connecticut supreme court overturned their convictions in 2019 after witnesses recanted their testimony, leading to the dismissal of the charges.
Dr Henry Lee’s role in the case
Dr Henry Lee, who had worked on some of America’s most notorious criminal investigations and trials, played a significant role in the wrongful convictions of Birch and Henning. Despite the lack of evidence, Lee testified that it was possible for the men to have committed the murder without getting blood on them. In July, Lee was found liable for fabricating evidence in the case by a federal judge. This settlement serves as a step towards justice for Birch and Henning after spending three decades in prison for a crime they did not commit.
Throughout this long and arduous journey, Birch expressed his resilience and determination. He stated, “They took 30 years of my life and I’m not going to give them any more by being angry.” The settlement provides some compensation for the years of wrongful imprisonment and highlights the importance of ensuring justice for all.