A Washington, D.C., judge has ordered the District government to pay a record $9.2 million in damages to Kirk Odom, 52, who was wrongfully imprisoned for more than 22 years in the rape and robbery of a woman in her apartment in 1981. The amount set by Judge Neal Kravitz, is the second and largest in a case tried before a judge under the District's wrongful conviction law, which was approved in 1980. It is one of the largest non-jury awards in a U.S. exoneration case.
“Mr. Odom spent more than twenty-two years of what should have been the prime of his adult life behind bars for a crime he did not commit,” Kravitz wrote, recounting Odom's “profound” physical and psychological suffering that included several prison rapes, his diagnosis with HIV, suicide attempts, depression and family estrangement. Odom, who was 18 at the time of the crime, said “They can't pay me enough money to give me back the years that I've lost.” The city contends Odom should be granted no more than the $1.1 million in federal damages he already received, because his case was handled by the U.S. attorney.