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NY State Agrees to Settle with Buffalo Woman Wrongly Imprisoned for 13 Years

Lynn DeJac Peters, a New York woman who was wrongly convicted of her teenage daughter’s murder and forced to spend 13 years in wrongful imprisonment, has reached a $2.7 million settlement with the state. She is expected to hold a news conference Tuesday morning on the agreement reached with the state Attorney General’s Office.

DeJac was convicted in 1994 though maintaining her innocence. In 2007, newly analyzed DNA evidence implicated the mother’s former boyfriend. Later, it was diagnosed, the teen died of a cocaine overdose. DeJac was cleared of the charges and released in 2008. The new evidence pointed finally at Dennis P. Donohue, the former boyfriend of DeJac as the killer.

DeJac had initially asked for a sum more than $14 million, asserting it appropriate for the time she spent behind bars, while others raised her twin sons and daughter. She had sought $1 million for each year behind the bars.

Donohue is currently in prison for the murder of another Buffalo resident, Joan Giambra, whose murder had many similarities to that of DeJac’s daughter, Crystallyn. Steven Cohen, the lead lawyer for DeJac, told the media, “Had the Buffalo police arrested Donohue in 1993 for the murder of Crystallyn, he would not have been at large to kill at least one other woman we know of, Joan Giambra.”

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Cohen said, “We have reached what we consider to be a fair settlement for the state’s role in this injustice. We still have suits against the County of Erie and the City of Buffalo for their greater and active participation in Lynn’s wrongful incarcereation.”

Though wrongful conviction is horrible and must be compensated, the entire incident is tragic, and raises questions as to how the boyfriend of a protecting and sensible mother was able to kill her teenage daughter with cocaine overdose, with the mother remaining ignorant of questionable intimacy.

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