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Wrongfully Jailed US Man to Get $14M Compensation

 

A Florida man, wrongfully imprisoned for the 1983 rape and murder of 19-year-old Barbara Grams, is poised to receive $14 million in compensation from the city of Tampa. Robert DuBoise, initially sentenced to death at 18, had his sentence reduced to life in 2018 with support from the Innocence Project. The organization facilitated DNA testing, unavailable in the 1980s, revealing two other individuals' involvement, leading to DuBoise's exoneration in 2020.

Following his release, DuBoise initiated legal action against Tampa, the police, and a forensic dentist. The lawsuit was settled in January, with the Tampa City Council set to vote on ratification. The $14 million compensation will be disbursed over three years: $9 million this year, $3 million next year, and $2 million in 2026. DuBoise was represented by the civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy.

Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw acknowledged the case's profound impact, emphasizing enhanced detective training and technological advancements in investigations post-DuBoise. Despite the settlement, the city denies intentional wrongdoing by its police officers. The 1983 case relied on a bite mark obtained with beeswax, implicating DuBoise despite no prior connection to Grams.

Decades later, DNA testing linked Amos Robinson and Abron Scott to Grams' murder. Both are serving life sentences for another homicide and await trial on first-degree murder charges related to Grams. A prison informant's discredited testimony and DuBoise's skepticism toward the judicial system marked post-release challenges. However, DuBoise, expressing belief in justice, anticipates moving forward after the settlement's ratification by the Tampa City Council.

Feb. 18, 2024 4:11 p.m. 2600

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