*In 1987, Mark Schand was wrongfully convicted of murdering Victoria Seymour, a mother of three, with a stray bullet during what prosecutors said was a drug deal gone wrong outside of a Massachusetts nightclub.
Police, who called Schand a local troublemaker, was “identified” and a photo of him and several others were used to help Springfield police identify the victim.
However, argued Schand’s lawyers, city investigators confused the photos and the lineups, leading to Schand being sentenced to life in prison without parole. However, though it stands as a travesty to justice, Schand’s life began to turn around in 2010 when Centurion Ministries looked into his case, finding multiple discrepancies in evidence.
The conviction was vacated in 2013 and Schand sued the city two years later. On Friday it was announced that a federal jury awarded 55-year-old Mark Schand $27 million, $1 million for each year served, for being convicted and imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit.
The stray bullet actually came from drug dealers Charles ‘Heavy’ Stokes and his brother David’s exchange with Anthony Cooke and Michael Hosten went bad on Rifle Street in Springfield, Massachusetts on September 2, 1986.
Three weeks later, a witness told investigators he was ’50 percent’ sure Schand was the gunman. The Stokes brothers later identified Schand as the shooter and made the same claims during trial. Heavy Stokes recanted his testimony in 1989.
Police used testimony from a criminal who was slated to do time himself? An all too familiar recipe for injustice.