Spending years behind bars for a crime you didn’t commit would be a nightmare for anyone. Unfortunately for Deon Patrick, this is exactly what happened to him. Fortunately for him, after spending “21 years in prison after signing a murder confession allegedly manufactured by Chicago police and Cook County prosecutors,” a federal jury awarded him $13 million on Wednesday as a result of a lawsuit he filed against the city of Chicago.
As the award was being announced by U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman, Patrick wept with relief. No longer would he have to watch his life go by from behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. But what was he falsely convicted of in the first place? Well, back in 1995 he was convicted “in the deaths of Sharon Haugabook and Jeffrey Lassiter,” and even signed a murder confession that he later contended was coerced.
Before the life changing award was announced, Patrick’s attorney “argued Chicago Police Department records show Patrick was locked up on a disorderly conduct charge at the time the two were killed in their apartment in 1992.” So why did he sign the confession in the first place? Well, in addition being coerced, Patrick’s lawsuit claimed he “signed the murder confession after being abused.”
Though the murder charges were dismissed against Patrick back in 2014, it still took all of this time for things to be made right. But for Patrick, he’s just happy that his “day has finally come.”