MILWAUKEE — A federal jury ordered the City of Milwaukee to pay William Avery $1 million because of a wrongful murder conviction. Avery was released from prison after serving six years before new evidence in the case was found which freed him.
Milwaukee Police charged Avery for admitting to killing Maryetta Griffin. Griffin was strangled to death. New DNA testing linked serial killer Walter Ellis to the crime. For six years Avery said he never confessed to the crime.
During Avery’s civil rights case, his lawyers argued that detectives violated Avery’s rights — making up incriminating statements to get their conviction.
Avery was released in 2010 after DNA evidence revealed the real killer. Ellis pleaded no contest to seven Milwaukee murders. He died in prison in 2013.
But another murder eventually linked to Ellis also is putting the City of Milwaukee on the hook for millions, according to Fox 6 News, Chaunte Ott served 13 years for the murder of 16-year-old Jessica Payne in 1995 before his release in 2009. Recently, Ott was awarded a $6.5 million settlement from the city. Those are numbers the attorney for Avery does not think are excessive.
Avery’s attorney says since he’s been out of prison, Avery has gotten carpentry education from MATC — and has a home remodeling business.