Exonerated North Carolina man receives $3.25M settlement

A city council has approved a $3.25 million settlement for a North Carolina man who spent 24 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit.

The Hickory City Council voted Wednesday to approve the settlement with Willie Grimes, who was sentenced in July 1989 to life for two counts of first-degree rape and nine additional years for one count of second-degree kidnapping for the assault of 69-year-old Hickory woman in 1987.

He was paroled in May 2012 after the state Innocence Inquiry Commission unanimously agreed that enough credible evidence existed to refer Grimes’ case to a three-judge panel. That panel later declared that Grimes was innocent, as the now 69-year-old man had always maintained.

Grimes’ attorney says he is a man of faith who will continue to live simply.

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