New York Man Receives Nearly $18 Million for 1990 Tourist Killing Wrongful Conviction

His lawyers revealed Friday that the city and state of New York would pay roughly $18 million to a man released in 2015 after 25 years in jail for a tourist slaying.

Johnny Hincapie’s lawyers called it New York City’s biggest wrongful conviction payment.
In 1990, a gang of young men stabbed Utah visitor Brian Watkins on a subway platform, including Colombian-born Hincapie. Hincapie, an 18-year-old with no criminal record, said he was forced to confess to the Labor Day crime.

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Despite recanting his false confession and other exculpatory evidence, Hincapie was convicted of criminal murder and sentenced to 25 years to life. He was acquitted after 25 years, three months, and eight days.

Hincapie Calls Watkins’ Death “Tragic” in Friday Statement”

“I’ll never forget his family’s loss,” he added. “I’m glad my city and state have recognised my innocence, and I’m excited to start a new chapter with my family.”

Gabriel P. Harvis and Baree N. Fett, who represented Hincapie, praised him for being a model prisoner and continuing his schooling. In jail, 50-year-old Hincapie got his GED, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

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“He truly is the last victim in this case because it took so long for him to finally have his innocence recognised,” Harvis told The Associated Press. He said the big compensation recognises his client’s “innocence and characteristics as a person.”

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