DETROIT (Michigan News Source) – The state of Michigan will pay $1.03 million to a 71-year-old man who spent nearly 21 years in prison for the deaths of two hunters before the convictions were thrown out in February.
Jeff Titus qualified for compensation under the state’s wrongful conviction law. It pays $50,000 for every year behind bars. Records show Court of Claims Judge James Redford signed off on the deal on Aug. 23.
Titus had long declared his innocence in the fatal shootings of Doug Estes and Jim Bennett near his Kalamazoo County land in 1990. Titus was released from a life sentence earlier this year when authorities acknowledged that Titus’ trial lawyer in 2002 was never given a police file with details about another suspect, Thomas Dillon. In June, Kalamazoo County prosecutor Jeff Getting said Titus would not face another trial.
Dillon was an Ohio serial killer whose five victims between 1989 and 1992 were hunting, fishing or jogging. Dillon died in prison in 2011.
There was no physical evidence against Titus; the Innocence Clinic at University of Michigan law school worked to exonerate him.