The state Senate voted 23-13 Thursday night to pass and send to the House of Representatives a bill requiring greater scrutiny of jailhouse witnesses.
Shawn Henning and Ralph “Ricky” Birch, have been locked up since 1989 for a gruesome 1985 murder in New Milford they steadfastly insist they didn’t commit. The state’s case, never airtight to begin with, has diminished over the years as two prosecution witnesses have recanted, key defense testimony was uncovered, and DNA testing put an unknown person at the scene. Nonetheless, a state judge turned down their petition for a new trial last year, leaving the two with a slim chance of freedom.
Miguel Roman, who served 20 years, six months and 10 days in prison for a murder the state concedes he did not commit, was awarded $6 million Monday by the state claims commissioner. DNA evidence exonerated him in 2008 and convicted another man in 2011.
WASHINGTON — East Hartford resident James Tillman was convicted of rape and jailed for almost 18 years before a DNA test exonerated and freed him in 2006. Congress is now adding to the restitution Tillman, and hundreds of wrongfully convicted people, received for the wrong the judicial system did them.
Kenneth Ireland, who was wrongly imprisoned for 21 years and subject to the constant threat of abuse as a man labeled a rapist and murderer, was awarded $6 million and an apology Thursday by Connecticut’s claims commissioner.