After being wrongfully convicted and serving 17 years in prison, Dupree Glass, 36, and Juan Rayford, 37, have been awarded $140 for each day they spent behind bars.
The two men were declared innocent in 2020 after a retrial, during which Chad Brandon McZeal, the actual perpetrator, confessed to the crime. McZeal, a gang member, is currently serving a life sentence for a separate murder charge.
In 2004, Dupree Glass and Juan Rayford were arrested for a shooting that injured two teenagers. At the time, Glass was 17 years old and Rayford was 18.
According to their defense lawyer, Annee Della Donna, Glass and Rayford had no prior criminal history and consistently maintained their innocence throughout their trial in 2004.
Despite a lack of evidence linking them to the shooting incident, they were found guilty of 11 counts of attempted murder and were each sentenced to 11 consecutive life sentences. Donna stated that the trial against them "never should have been brought in the first place."
"There was no evidence tying them to the shooting. Zero," the lawyer meant.
Della Donna stated that the basis for their convictions relied on the accounts of merely two witnesses, who subsequently withdrew their statements.
However, following a comprehensive five-year examination by the defense investigators, multiple witnesses testified that the accused were not the shooters and did not possess a firearm.
After the retrial held in Los Angeles, Glass and Rayford are eligible for restitution according to a new legislation in California. They will receive $140 (£112) for each day they were wrongly incarcerated, resulting in a sum of approximately $900,000 (£725,000).
Currently, both men are employed as drivers for Walmart and are fathers to infant daughters. Rayford remains in a relationship with his high school sweetheart, who stood by him during his time in prison.
A California judge declared the innocence of the two men on Thursday, April 20th, signifying the conclusion of their retrial. The convictions were overturned by a state appeals court panel in October.
As their loved ones, well-wishers and supporters cheered outside the courthouse, the men were embraced with warmth.
"I thought about this day for so long. I thought about it when I was locked up for 17 years," Rayford shared outside the courthouse.
"I thought about it for my last two years being free. I waited for this day because, you know, I knew I was innocent of every crime they said I committed."