In this June 6, 2012 photo provided by John Masson, David Gavitt visits the grave of his wife and two daughters in Ionia County, Mich., immediately after he was released from prison after 26 years. Gavitt was convicted of arson and murder in their 1985 deaths, but the convictions were overturned after scientists took a new look at evidence from the house fire. Gavitt now is seeking compensation under a Michigan law that pays people who were wrongly convicted. (John Masson via AP)

Michigan man cleared of murder now fights for compensation

March 04, 2018 - 10:43 am

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan man whose case helped inspire a state law that gives money to the wrongfully convicted is now fighting to win compensation.

David Gavitt spent 26 years in prison in the deaths of his wife and two young daughters before a prosecutor agreed the arson evidence behind his conviction wasn't credible.

Gavitt would qualify for more than $1 million under Michigan's Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act, which went into effect last year.

Yet the state is resisting his request for money and even questioning whether he's really innocent.

So far, Judge Michael Talbot is siding with the attorney general's office. Talbot says Gavitt still must present "clear and convincing evidence" that he didn't kill his family.

Gavitt calls the struggle a "slap in the face."

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