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Man Wrongfully Convicted at 14 Challenges Mississippi Compensation Law

By Innocence Staff

In 2003, 13-year-old Tyler Edmonds falsely confessed to participating in the murder of his brother-in-law. He was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison.

Edmonds spent several years in prison before his conviction was reversed and he was acquitted at retrial in 2008.

At the time, Mississippi had no law entitling wrongfully convicted people to compensation for their time behind bars. The following year, a statute was created allowing exonerees up to $50,000 for each year of wrongful incarceration, excluding applicants who “contributed to their own conviction.” Because Edmonds falsely confessed to the crime, the state rejected his application. He and his lawyers took the case to the state Supreme Court, which is expected to rule this summer. If the court rules in his favor, more Mississippi exonerees could be eligible for compensation.

Edmonds told NBC News that he hopes the $158,333 settlement he seeks will help his mother, who sacrificed her home and marriage during her struggle to free her son. It is also the only avenue available to Edmonds for holding the state accountable.

“This is the only opportunity that I have to stand up for myself, you know, truly stand up for myself and say, ‘You are wrong. This is what you did to me. This is not OK,'” Edmonds told NBC News. “And that means a lot to me.”

Watch the NBC News Coverage here.

False confessions are among the primary causes of wrongful convictions. Learn more about false confessions here.

2 Comments

  1. Diane Daly

    Worse than that, what was his life like behind bars being 13 in a prison full of predators ???? My God….that poor child !!!

  2. Hurley Carpenter

    I was actually on the forensics team that did an evaluation for the state of MS after Tyler was charged. His story has haunted and worried me for years. I always felt on a deep visceral level he was innocent and prayed that justice would be done. It makes my heart sink to think what he had to go through when in prison. Being eventually acquitted is not enough. He deserves to win his case before the Supreme Court. There is nothing they can do that would adequately compensate him from what was taken from him. I am rooting for him and hope he can live life with some joy and happiness.

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