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Bronx Man Awarded $18.5M In Wrongful-Conviction Suit

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TWC News: Bronx Man Awarded $18.5M In Wrongful-Conviction Suit
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After spending 21 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, a city jury this week awarded a Bronx man $18.5 million.

Alan Newton was convicted in 1985 of raping and slicing the face of a woman in the Bronx.

He was released in 2006 after police eventually found the rape kit that they originally said they were unable to locate.

They say it was found once prosecutors provided a copy of the kit's original voucher.

It did not match Newton's DNA.

Newton says he hopes the ruling will help others who have been wrongfully convicted.

"I felt like I'm vindicated, after four years, I was exonerated, I walked out of jail but this says from a jury of my peers that we felt the system was wrong and we want to compensate you and we're also sending a message to the city," Newton said.

"They [jurors] did tell us post-verdict that what they found was very effective and what upset them was a timeline we presented in my closing argument to the jury where I showed the jury how many times Mr. Newton requested the evidence and what the responses were on each occasion," said Newton's attorney, John Schutty.

Since his release, Newton has graduated from Medgar Evers College with a degree in Business Administration and plans to enroll in law school next year.

Meanwhile, Vanessa Potkin, an attorney with the Innocence Project -- which helps those who say they have been wrongfully convicted fight their way out of prison -- says she believes there are many more Alan Newtons out there.

"We have dozens of cases at the Innocence Project where people are claiming innocence where the city is just saying they can't find the evidence and New York is far worse than the rest of the country in this area," Potkin said.

The city released a statement saying, "We are disappointed with the verdict and plan to appeal it."

Newton says he plans to enroll in law school next year, but not before a vacation.

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