RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) – In March 2011, Thomas Haynesworth, 46, was released from a Virginia prison after he spent 27 years behind bars for crimes he did not commit.
In January 2012, Haynesworth learned State Senator Henry Marsh submitted a bill to the 2012 Virginia General Assembly that would authorize the state pay Haynesworth $796,428.
Haynesworth told CBS 6 Reporter Shelby Brown his initial reaction was disappointment when he learned about the amount.
“Shocked. I was just shocked you know that it was $800,000,” Haynesworth said. “No amount of money can bring back the 27 years. It’s not about the money, it’s about being fair. You think about it. They took my life from me for 27 years and $800,000 is a fair shake? I don’t think so. I think it should be more than that but how much more, I can’t say.”
State Senator Henry Marsh said he followed a state formula to determine the dollar figure and the nearly $800,000 amount was just a starting point.
“I put the bill in so there would be something before the Senate this year when we meet. It’s all based on the guidelines that specify what people should receive when they’ve been wrongfully imprisoned,” said Sen. Marsh.
He said he can then amend the bill and go before Senate committees to urge lawmakers to increase the amount Haynesworth is to receive.
“We usually follow the guidelines, but as for Mr. Haynesworth, I do believe a case can be made for exceeding the guidelines because of what happened to him. I’m open to that but right now I wanted to get something before the committee so we could act swiftly,” Sen. Marsh said.
Senator Marsh said he planned to talk to Haynesworth this week to discuss the bill and changes that can be made. [CLICK HERE: Read Thomas Haynesworth bill]
In 1984 Haynesworth was convicted of sexual assault in a series of rapes in Henrico County and Richmond, Virginia. Nearly three decades later DNA evidence proved Haynesworth was not guilty in some of the cases. In two instances there was no biological evidence left at the crime scene.
In March 2011, Haynesworth was released from the Greensville Correctional Facility.In December 2011, Haynesworth received a full exoneration from the Virginia Court of Appeals which determined he was not a criminal and his criminal record should be wiped clean.