Grant Williams settlement: New York City to pay $7M to man wrongfully convicted in 1996 killing

NEW YORK — New York City has reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with a man who spent 23 years in prison after he was wrongfully convicted of second-degree murder, officials said Monday.

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According to The Associated Press, Comptroller Brad Lander said the city will pay Grant Williams, 51, of Staten Island, $7 million in the settlement.

Williams, who was convicted in the 1996 shooting death of Shdell Lewis on Staten Island, was sentenced to 25 years to life in 1997, the AP reported. He was released on parole in 2019 and cleared in July 2021 following a review of his case, according to the Staten Island Advance.

“A reinvestigation of this case by my office’s Conviction Integrity Review Unit uncovered new evidence showing Mr. Grant Williams could not have committed the murder a Staten Island jury convicted him of carrying out in 1997,” Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon said last summer, according to the Advance. “Given the overwhelming amount of exculpatory evidence presented for the first time in this review, as well as a totality of the investigative circumstances in this case, which in several instances defy what we now accept as best practices, we now believe Mr. Williams to actually be innocent and conclude that our justice system failed him.”

In a statement Monday, Lander lauded the settlement.

“While no amount of money can bring those years back for Mr. Williams or his family, I am pleased that we were able to move quickly to a fair and early resolution of this claim,” read the statement obtained by the Advance.

Attorney Irving Cohen, who represents Williams, said the money will help his client “get back on his feet,” the AP reported.

Cohen added that the state recently reached a $5 million settlement with Williams, according to the news agency. No further details about that case were immediately available.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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