Mo. Woman Gets $7.5M for Wrongful Conviction; Ex-Reporter Played Role


It took 16 years for Ellen Reasonover’s pleas of innocence to be heard. A federal judge released her from prison in 1999, overturning a murder conviction. It took five more years for Reasonover’s pleas for compensation for wrongful conviction to be heard. The insurance company for the Missouri town where the killing took place has now agreed to pay her $7.5 million in an out-of-court settlement, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Two of the lawyers negotiating the settlement were veterans of the O.J. Simpson murder trial defense, Johnnie Cochran and Barry Scheck.

Reasonover’s troubles began in January 1983 when she claimed she had been a witness to the murder of an attendant at a Dellwood, Mo., gas station. She ended up the primary suspect in the case, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. Reasonover insisted she was innocent. Long-forgotten evidence helped win her release when Paul Henderson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who now works as an investigator of wrongful conviction claims, got involved in the case.


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