Society

Man Who Served More Than 20 Years For Crime He Didn't Commit Gets Six Million Dollars

| by Sheena Vasani
Miguel RomanMiguel Roman

Connecticut awarded $6 million on Feb. 8 to a man wrongfully sent to prison for more than 20 years.

Miguel Roman, 59, was sentenced to prison for 60 years after a jury erroneously convicted him of murdering 17-year-old Carmen Lopez in 1988, The Associated Press reports.

Despite lack of sufficient physical evidence, Roman served one-third of his 60-year-sentence.

Then, in 2008, DNA test results revealed another man, Pedro Miranda, was responsible for the murder. Miranda received a life sentence in 2011.

Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. apologized to Roman "... for the burden that he was forced to suffer,” reports The Hartford Courant.

“[Roman was] labeled a murderer and was forced to spend a long portion of his life in maximum-security prisons where he experienced 20 years of fear, sleepless nights and the constant isolation that he faced in prison as an innocent man," Vance said.

"No words or dollar amount will suffice to give him back the time that he lost and the misery that he endured,” he added.

Roman initially requested the state give him $8.5 million, explaining he lost the chance to see his children grow and spend the final days of his parents' lives with them.

He said he still experiences anxiety and "ruminates over the injustice done to him and his losses."

It is unclear why the state awarded him $2.5 million less.

Still, he expresses gratitude for the compensation.

"Mr. Roman is grateful today that the claims commissioner has awarded compensation in accordance with that statute," New Haven lawyer Rosemarie Paine, who worked with Roman’s family, said. "To be separated from your young children and family and imprisoned for 20 1/2 years is a terrible tragedy that no innocent person should ever have to endure."

Roman also filed another lawsuit alleging police misconduct in handling the case that led him to prison, which is still pending.

Sources: The Associated Press via ABC NewsThe Hartford Courant / Photo credit: The Hartford Courant

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