Thursday, January 20

Man wrongfully convicted of murder sues car rental company for failing to provide a receipt to back up his alibi


(CNN) — A Michigan man was recently acquitted of murder, a charge for which he spent nearly five years in prison. Now, he is suing a car rental company for failing to provide records that his attorneys said would have exonerated him earlier.

Herbert Alford was wrongfully convicted of second degree murder in 2016 and released in 2020 after Hertz Corporation provided a receipt showing Alford was renting a car at Lansing Airport minutes before the murder occurred. Hertz shared the documents with the court in 2018, more than two years after Alford’s attorneys initially contacted them.

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“Had they not ignored and disobeyed numerous court orders requiring them to produce documentation that ultimately freed Mr. Alford, he would not have spent more than 1,700 days in jail,” Alford’s attorneys wrote in a complaint obtained by CNN.

He was imprisoned for years

In 2011, Alford was mistakenly identified as the gunman who killed 23-year-old Michael Adams at a Lansing mall, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

He was arrested in 2015, after a suspect in another drug-related crime “made a deal with the police” and provided information about Alford, according to the record.

He was convicted of second degree murder in 2016.

Alford’s attorneys said they had requested Hertz records that would substantiate Alford’s alibi. Hertz did not respond, they said, until 2018, more than a year after a jury convicted Alford of murder, among other charges.

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Records provided by Hertz in 2018 showed that Alford had rented a car minutes before Adams’s murder, which occurred about 20 minutes away, Alford’s attorney, Jamie White, told CNN.

Alford spent nearly five years in prison before all charges against him were dismissed in February 2020. He was on bail from February to December 2020, according to the report.

But the years he spent incarcerated for a crime he did not commit could have been avoided, his lawyers said, if Hertz had provided the receipt when it was first requested.

Hertz says it tried to get the receipt in 2016

A Hertz spokesman, which recently filed a reorganization plan in bankruptcy court, told CNN that the company is “deeply saddened to learn of Mr. Alford’s experience.”

“While we were unable to find the historical rental record for 2011 when it was requested in 2015, we are continuing our good faith efforts to locate it,” the spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. “With the advancements in data search in the following years, we were able to locate the rental record in 2018 and we provided it quickly.”

Since his release in December, Alford has been struggling to adjust to life after incarceration, White said.

“He’s going through some things right now,” he told CNN. He’s trying to figure out what he’s going to do now… and we’re hopeful that, you know, he’s back on track shortly.

Alford is seeking compensation of more than $ 25,000, according to the complaint. But “there is no dollar figure that can correct this,” White said.


cnnespanol.cnn.com

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