Willie James Grimes has just been awarded $3,250,000 after serving 24 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.
The Hickory City Council voted unanimously today to award Grimes with the settlement from a 2014 lawsuit that he filed against the Hickory Police Department and several several Catawba County individuals, according to the Hickory Record.
He was initially arrested in July of 1988 for two counts of first-degree rape and one count of second-degree kidnapping, then was sentenced to life in prison.
Grimes always maintained his innocence throughout his time in prison, and even refused to join programs that would have reduced his sentence, since he would have had to admit guilt.
In April of 2012, the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission found that the fingerprints of the banana peel from the original case matched a different person.
Grimes was then found innocent of all charges against him, and was exonerated on Oct. 5, 2012 at the age of 66, after spending 24 years behind bars.
The city of Hickory will now be required to pay him $2,250,650, and the city’s insurance company, National Casualty, will pay $999,350.