They were wrongfully convicted in the murder of their schoolmate.
Alfred Chestnut, Andrew Stewart, and Ransom Watson were falsely accused and convicted for the murder of their schoolmate DeWitt Duckett, who was 14-years-old in 1983. They were accused of shooting him over an argument and were sentenced to life in prison.
As reported by Atlanta Black Star, a re-study of their case revealed that investigators had coerced four witnesses to implicate these men for the crimes. Furthermore, the investigators had ignored the testaments from other witnesses who had identified another person as the killer.
The Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said: "I’m delighted that these three men have been granted the compensation they deserve. But it’s awful they had to go through a legal process to obtain [this] small measure of justice."
The Assistant State’s Attorney Lauren Lipscomb had told a judge last year: Present day, all four of those witnesses have recanted. There is evidence of coerced pretrial preparation. One former student told the state they were told, quote, 'Get with the program.'"
And they are out: Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart walk out of the Baltimore city courthouse after 36 yrs for a crime they didn’t do: pic.twitter.com/5UDGWMZmOB— Tom Jackman (@TomJackmanWP) November 25, 2019
The three men were exonerated in 2019 and the state has now awarded a cumulative sum of $8.7 million to be paid to the men. Each of them would receive $2.9 million.