Advertisement

Ex-Wu-Tang Clan studio worker wins $7M for wrongful murder conviction

Ex-Wu-Tang Clan studio worker wins $7M for wrongful murder conviction
Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan was among the staunchest supporters of former studio worker Grant Williams, who on Monday was awarded $7 million for a wrongful murder conviction. File Photo by Omer Messinger/EPA-EFE

May 23 (UPI) -- The city of New York announced Monday it will pay $7 million to Grant Williams, a former studio worker for the rap group Wu-Tang Clan, in compensation for a wrongful 1997 murder conviction.

Williams, who was exonerated last year for the slaying of 20-year-old Shdell Lewis in Staten Island, New York City, will receive the payment to settle his claims of police misconduct and civil rights violations, city comptroller Brad Lander announced.

Advertisement

"Grant Williams spent 23 years in jail for a crime that he did not commit," Lander said. "While no amount of money can bring those years back for Mr. Williams or his family, I am pleased that we were able to move quickly to a fair and early resolution of this claim."

The $7 million amount was agreed upon "after a careful review of his claims and negotiations with his counsel," the comptroller said. "The early resolution of this claim is in the best interests of all parties and city taxpayers."

Williams was convicted in 1997 at age 25 despite the fact that he did not match the description given to police by witnesses, and that prosecutors did not have a confession, a murder weapon, or any significant evidence, Lander said.

Advertisement

Police withheld potentially exonerating information from prosecutors, including the statements of a witness who told them Williams was not the shooter, he added. Another witness said he was with Williams in another location at the time of the shooting.

Williams had steadfastly maintained his innocence through many rounds of appeals, until in 2017 the investigation into Lewis' death was reopened. Based on new information from the probe, he was released from prison on parole in October 2019.

Williams subsequently requested a full exoneration, which was granted by the Richmond County, New York, Supreme Court on July 22, 2021.

Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, a close friend of Williams, told The Staten Island Advance last year -- after his exoneration -- that the decision felt "like a ton of bricks being lifted."

"I missed him," he said. "When he left, part of me left."

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement