A New York man who was wrongfully imprisoned for nine years has died of lung cancer, just four months after receiving $7.5 million from the state.
Jerry Gristwood told The Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper that his brother Dan Gristwood, 48, passed away on Saturday.
Dan, of Oswego County, New York, was awarded $5.5 million in May 2013 from the state for being wrongfully convicted of attempting to kill his wife with a hammer inside their Syracuse home in 1996.
By the time he was paid in September 2014, the interest had increased his award to $7.5 million.
The real attacker, Mastho Davis, came forward and confessed to the crime in 2003. Gristwood was released in 2005.
Christina Gristwood, who suffered a brain injury in the attack, divorced her husband while he was in prison. She died in 2014.
Police questioned Gristwood for 16 hours before he signed a statement falsely confessing to the attempted murder of his wife. He was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison, the Post-Standard reported.
“He didn’t get a chance to enjoy things as much as he wanted,” Jerry Gristwood told the newspaper. “But he did get a little bit of enjoyment.”
But Dan was still angry at the state troopers who forced him to sign a false confession.
“I don’t have grudges against the state police,” he told the paper. “There are good state troopers. But then you always get the few (expletives) who don’t want to do their jobs, just straight up have an attitude, thinking they’re better than everybody else.”
Jerry said his brother still fought hard even after he was diagnosed with the cancer.
Dan remarried in August and celebrated this past Christmas with family. His wife, Stacey, and at least one of his five adult children were at the hospital when he died.