Man who spent 18 years on death row declared innocent, awarded compensation

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Posted at 3:22 PM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 18:00:55-04

A man who spent 18 years on Idaho's death row before he was declared innocent has been awarded compensation.

The Idaho Innocence Project at Boise State University along with volunteer attorneys from Stoel Rivers secured the certificate of innocence for Charles Fain. The stipulation agreement with the Idaho Attorney General's office includes financial compensation based on the wrongful conviction act that was signed into law this year.

Related: Bill passes allowing for those wrongfully convicted in Idaho to be compensated

“Charles Fain is decent man who began a terrible nightmare almost 40 years ago. The people of Idaho have declared him innocent today,” said Idaho Innocence Project Director Greg Hampikian in a statement.

More: Christopher Tapp and Charles Fain testify in emotional hearing for wrongful conviction compensation bill

Fain served 18 years on death row for the murder and rape of a 9-year-old girl in Nampa in 1982 . DNA testing later proved he did not commit the crime and he was freed from prison in 2001.

Fain has been working since the year he was released from prison in 2001. He says with the compensation he plans to finally retire.

“We are all going to go get the check together quietly. He doesn't want a lot of press there, but I just want to see him hold something tangible that says you’re innocent and we’re sorry Charles for what happened to you," Hampikian said.

The Wrongful Conviction Act will give exonerees $62,000 for each year wrongfully imprisoned or $75,000 for each year wrongfully served on death row. This means Fain is set to recieve over $1.3 million dollars.

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Throughout all of this there is one group of people Fain keeps in mind.

“He said to make sure that we talked about the victim’s family. He said he wants folks to know that he feels compassion for them and that they are not getting compensated," Hampikian said.

Apart from being compensated, Fain also received a certificate of innocence, which is the state of Idaho apologizing for the circumstances.

“So getting that certificate of innocence that’s something they could show employers they could show landlords that even though it says I’m a murderer on a list, no no I have a certificate of innocence," Hampikian said.

The compensation awarded to these individuals will come from the innocence fund set up through the state, and the court will need to award a certificate of innocence to these individuals.

“He (Fain) also said he’s happy to see his life freed from this tragedy to get on with his life so there’s good news here," Hampikian said.