The town of Ayer and five of its insurers have agreed to pay $3.4 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by the estate of the late Kenneth Waters, who spent more than 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit before his sister earned a law degree and helped free him through DNA evidence.Ayer to pay $3.4m for unjust conviction, Boston Globe, July 15, 2009.
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The lawsuit, which was scheduled to go to trial next week, accused Ayer police of coercing false testimony to convict Waters and withholding evidence that could have cleared him.
See also Betty Anne Waters wins $10.7M for brother's wrongful murder conviction, Nat'l L.J., Sept. 17, 2009 (you have to register to view the story).
The story of a sister who gets her GED and puts herself through college and law school in order to help her brother -- and then succeeds! -- is the stuff of Hollywood. And indeed, Betty Anne Waters is due out later this fall. Hillary Swank plays Betty Anne Waters and Minnie Driver plays her law school friend Abra Rice. Rice, now a public defender, is profiled in Courtroom Drama, New Haven Advocate, Aug. 18, 2009.
Here's the real Waters at an Innocence Project event (she appears at 2:58):