Gov. Brown Approves Nearly $2 Million Payment to Man Wrongly Imprisoned for Simi Valley Murders

Craig Coley, left, spent 39 years behind bars. He calls retired detective Michael Bender, who helped free him, his savior. (Credit: Bill Wechter / San Diego Union-Tribune / CNG via Los Angeles Times)

Craig Coley, left, spent 39 years behind bars. He calls retired detective Michael Bender, who helped free him, his savior. (Credit: Bill Wechter / San Diego Union-Tribune / CNG via Los Angeles Times)

During the 13,991 days he was incarcerated, Craig Coley denied any involvement in the brutal murders of his ex-girlfriend and her young son in 1978.

On the eve of Thanksgiving last year, Gov. Jerry Brown exonerated the 70-year-old man, declaring that Coley “did not commit these crimes,” and ordered his immediate release.

Now, Brown has signed off on a second move to correct the injustice. The governor on Thursday approved a $1.95-million payment for Coley — $140 for each day he was wrongfully behind bars — that marks the largest payout by the state’s Victim Compensation Board for an erroneous conviction.

Brown did not comment Thursday in approving the settlement, but in his pardon of Coley in November, the governor said investigations ordered by his office, police and prosecutors cleared the man in the killings.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.