Philadelphia, PA: (Jan-10-08) Nicholas Yarris, a former death-row inmate exonerated by DNA tests, brought a lawsuit against Delaware County, where he was prosecuted, after 23 years in prison on murder and rape charges. Yarris stated that he had first asked for the tests 16 years earlier, but the request had been denied. Linda Mae Craig was found murdered, stabbed to death in a car near her suburban Philadelphia home in 1981. Yarris was accused of the crime. Though innocent, he tied to settle the case, but was unsuccessful. Yarris' suit alleged that authorities in Delaware County destroyed or withheld crucial DNA evidence, leading to his long imprisonment. Some DNA samples were allowed to rot after his trial in a paper bag under a detective's desk while other samples turned up after he had been told there were none.
Yarris was in jail on another charge when he came to the attention of authorities after saying he knew something about Craig's death. His suit stated that he had read about the case in a newspaper and spoke up in hopes of getting out of jail. Sources stated that the DNA tests ultimately showed that genetic material found under Craig's fingernails, on her undergarments and in a pair of gloves worn by the killer belonged to another man. As part of a settlement reached, the county agreed to a multi million-dollar payout to resolve the wrongful imprisonment lawsuit.
[PHILADELPHIA NEWS: WRONGFUL IMPRISONMENT]
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