A man who spent as much as 45 years in prison for a crime he never committed, has been paid a whopping $1.5m in compensation.
Richard Phillips, 73, has been selling the watercolours he painted in prison to help support himself since his release
A 73-year-old Michigan man who served 45 years in jail for murder after a miscarriage of justice has won $1.5 million in state compensation.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel confirmed the award to Richard Phillips, who was the longest-serving US inmate on his release last year.
Mr Phillips spoke exclusively to DailyMailTV in April 2018 following his release.
‘We have an obligation to provide compassionate compensation to these men for the harm they suffered,’ Mr Nessel said in a statement.
Mr Phillips, a father of two who worked as a clerk typist for Crysler, was convicted in 1972, along with co-defendant Richard Palombo, for the 1971 murder of Gregory Harris.
But he was freed on March 28, 2018, after spending 45 years in prison.
The Innocence Clinic at University of Michigan law school learned that a co-defendant in 2010 told the parole board that Phillips had absolutely no role.
‘The attorney general’s office made a decision to pay him every penny he’s currently owed,’ said Phillips’ attorney, Gabi Silver.
‘I am very happy with how things have turned out,’
Exonerated convicts can claim up to $50,000 for every year they are wrongfully imprisoned.
On that basis, Mr Phillips would appear to qualify for $2.25 million, but authorities subtracted 15 years for an armed robbery sentence that he was already serving when he was convicted of the murder.
The freed man has been living on $500-a-month welfare payments plus $89 in food stamps.
He has been selling the watercolour artworks he painted in his cell to supplement that meagre income.
In his first sit-down interview as a free man, Mr Phillips told DailyMailTV in April 2018 how he celebrated his release by going to a casino and ‘pigging out’ on the restaurant buffet.
‘We don’t get a lot of hot food in prison,’ he expalined. ‘I went to the casino, I won $35 dollars and pigged out on the buffet.’
‘In prison most of the food we have is served cold so to get a hot meal is a real treat.’
‘I missed out on a lot while I was locked up for 45 years for a crime I did not commit,’ Mr Phillips said.
‘I hadn’t seen my kids and my mother died. Looking back on it, I don’t know how I made it in prison,’ added.
‘I got up every day while in prison going through the motions, just trying to survive. I finally had to leave it God’s hands and my prayers were answered.’