City of Aurora settled for $2.65 million with Jonathan Grayson following wrongful conviction

Lawsuit claimed 2002 murder conviction due to Aurora police coercion.

By: Steve Lord, Chicago Tribune: February 12th, 2016

The city of Aurora will pay $2.65 million to Jonathan Grayson, a man wrongly imprisoned for an Aurora murder for more than 10 years.

In addition, as part of the agreement, the city will pay Grayson’s attorneys $350,000.

Aldermen unanimously approved the settlement this week with no comment or discussion.

Grayson, once known as Jonathan Moore, was convicted of the 2000 shooting murder of Shawn Miller of Montgomery. A second man, Leroy Starks, also was shot in the incident and survived, although he was paralyzed from the waist down.

Miller, Starks and a young woman were standing outside a laundromat in the 0-99 block of Lincoln Avenue in Aurora at 5:45 a m., Aug. 24, 2000, when someone opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol.

Grayson was convicted in 2002 of the crime and spent about 10 years in jail before new information led to the state vacating the conviction and releasing Grayson – due to the work of two Aurora police detectives.

Aurora police detectives John Munn and Darrell Moore were lauded by national, state and local law enforcement organizations and legal groups for their efforts that eventually led to vacating Grayson’s conviction.

Munn and Moore’s efforts began in April 2011 when they received information from a confidential informant that Grayson was not involved in the 2000 crime.

Once the new information came to the attention of the two detectives, they re-interviewed prior witnesses and found 10 new people who had information on the case but had not come forward originally. After conferring with the Kane County state’s attorney, officials vacated Grayson’s conviction in March 2012.

In 2013, Grayson, who is now 33, filed a federal civil lawsuit claiming Aurora police manipulated evidence and conspired to help convict him of murder in 2002.

The lawsuit claimed detectives coerced witnesses and tricked Grayson into a partial confession.

At the time the lawsuit was filed, Grayson asked for more than $6 million to settle the case.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall declined to throw out Grayson’s lawsuit. She did grant summary judgments on several claims involving the city of Aurora and on three officers named as defendants. But she held that Grayson is entitled to pursue claims that the officers violated his right to due process.

The case was scheduled to go to trial Feb. 16 but will not now because of the settlement, which still needs to be approved by the court. The agreement specifically states that the city admits no liability or wrongdoing.

The money will be paid from the city’s insurance fund.

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