Gay Man Who Spent 11 Years in Prison Receives $13.2 Million in Wrongful Conviction Verdict

(image marvin fong the plain dealer)

David Ayers, 56, spent 11 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

At the time of his 1999 arrest, Ayers had been working for more than eight years as a security officer with the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. He was accused and eventually convicted of the beating death 76-year-old Dorothy Brown, who lived in a CMHA high rise in Cleveland.

Ayers continued to maintain his innocence, filing appeals while serving a life prison term for aggravated murder. He finally prevailed in 2011, when DNA tests proved that a single pubic hair found in Brown's mouth did not come from him.

The lawyers representing Ayers in the civil rights lawsuit argued that anti-gay sentiments caused the two detectives to frame their client for the slaying despite evidence that Brown also had been sexually assaulted.

The 11-member jury, some of whom wept as the verdict was read, reached their decision after four days of testimony and one day of deliberation.


  1. ratbastard says

    I’ve wondered what causes a guy [or woman for that matter] to sexually assault an elderly woman? There’s been numerous recent cases of young guys in their teens and early 20s who have raped elderly women. That’s some major hate right there.

  2. ratbastard says

    google ‘Anthony Merino’. He is a lab technician convicted in 2008 when he was in his early 20s of having sex with the body of a 92 year old woman in a NJ hospital morgue. Very good looking guy, semi-pro football player. Very bizarre.

    They can’t give Mr. Ayers 11 years of his life back. And they’ll probably never catch the real rapist and murderer, but he probably did it before and afterwards and odds are he’ll get caught and convicted for committing a similar crime.

  3. Bill says

    13 million isn’t enough. It should be 13 million after taxes (if any) and after the fees his
    lawyers get.

    Plus, they should take what they can out of the pensions/salaries of the guys who framed him, and maybe send them to jail for 11 years too.

    And they should make sure he gets competent financial advice so he doesn’t get taken advantage of.

  4. David Hearne says

    Everyone who goes to prison is innocent. Don’t you watch Lock-Up? So this guy probably is or might be innocent. If he is, I’m glad he got out.

    However, each time this happens there are many people who start yelling about “all the other innocent men in prison”. It’s important to remember that a jury found those men guilty and that DNA doesn’t prove that you are innocent, it only proves that the evidence being tested wasn’t left by you.

    No one is proven innocent in the US. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Right now we are having a run of retrials because of advances in technology and that’s not a bad thing per se. The truth is that most of these men have served as long as others have served for similar or worse crimes. But we also need to keep in mind that this is not a TV show where the scientific evidence is always conclusive. Juries still have a job to do and that included judging the plausibility of the alibi, or the believability of the elements of the crime, or the trustworthiness of the witness.

    I don’t think that there are too many cases which could be successfully retried after 10, 15, or 20 years. Witnesses disappear, evidence decays, memories fade, defendants become sympathetic.

  5. andrew says

    I think that MLK said “Justice delayed is Justice denied”. At least this wrongly convicted innocent man will be able to live a comfortable life with the money that is left after the government and lawyers get their cuts.

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