Man wrongfully imprisoned for 42 years suing Detroit for $168 million

Posted at 3:46 PM, Dec 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-08 07:23:44-05

A man who spent 42 years in jail after being wrongfully imprisoned has filed a civil lawsuit for $168 million. 

61-year old Ledura Watkins was arrested in 1975 when he was 19. 

He was charged with the murder of Yvette Ingram, an alleged drug dealer who taught in Detroit Public Schools. 

According to Watkins' attorney Wolf Mueller, former Highland Park police officer Gary Vazana committed the crime.  

The lawsuit states Watkins' acquaintance was threatened and coerced by former Wayne County prosecutor Robert Healy and now-deceased Detroit police officer Sgt. Neal Schwartz, into saying he did it. 

Watkins' attorney also accuses evidence technician Donald Badaczewski, claiming he fabricated evidence. 

The Cooley Innocence Project, led by Marla Mitchell, helped prove Watkins' innocence; he was set free in July. 

“The jury will have no problem determining reasonable compensation in this case, $2 million per year of incarceration is an equal amount for punitive damages,” Mueller says.

Watkins has a job and is getting his associate's degree. 

"I am overjoyed being able to walk down the street, free,” Watkins says. 

“This is not an indictment on police officers or prosecutors, the vast majority always do the right thing, it's just when the system gets broken there has to be an accounting and this is the day,” Mueller says.