COLUMBUS — A state panel has approved paying a more than $1.8 million to an Ohio man who was acquitted of murder charges after spending 18 years in prison.
The state Controlling Board on Monday approved the settlement with Anthony Lemons, of Cleveland.
He was convicted in 1995 of killing Eric Sims mainly on the basis of a witness who claimed he was wearing a pair of Nike sneakers. But during an appeal, it was learned that Cleveland police knew before the trial that Nike did not make the sneakers until after the killing. His lawyers were not told.
Lemons was freed after prosecutors dropped charges against him in December 2014, though they stopped short of conceding his innocence. That stymied his bid for compensation and resulted in a lengthy legal battle.
Lemons pursued a wrongful conviction certificate from another judge, who denied Lemons’ request to be declared innocent.
A judge in 2019 ruled he was wrongfully convicted, and an appeals court upheld the ruling.
State law was expanded in 2018 to make those who had convictions overturned because of withheld evidence eligible for financial compensation.
The fund has paid out nearly $5 million since 2020 to those who were exonerated.