Ventura County Man Who Was Wrongly Convicted Of Double Murder Gets $21 Million In Settlement

Feb 24, 2019

A Ventura County man who was wrongly convicted of a double murder and served nearly four decades in prison has reached a multimillion dollar settlement with a South Coast city.

Craig Coley will get $21 million dollars in a settlement with the city of Simi Valley.

He was convicted of the 1978 murders of Rhonda Wicht and her four-year-old son, Donald. Coley was Wicht’s ex-boyfriend.

City officials say the tireless advocacy by those who believed he was innocent and the Simi Valley Police Department’s initiative to reopen the case led to the discovery of DNA evidence, which determined Coley was innocent.

In November 2017, Governor Jerry Brown issued Coley a pardon.

His 39 years behind bars is believed to be the longest prison term overturned in California.

Simi Valley officials say reaching this settlement will mitigate the long and costly process of litigation.

Of the $21 million, the city will pay about $5 million with the remainder to be made up by other sources including insurance.