The jurors ruled in favor of Donald E. Gates, 64, of Knoxville, Tennessee, on his federal civil rights claim for a wrongful conviction after only seven hours of deliberation.
Until 2009, Gates was serving a life sentence for the murder of Catherine T. Schilling, a 21-year-old Georgetown University student, when he was exonerated through DNA testing of a key piece of evidence, hair, that had previously only been microscopically and visually linked to him.
— [ Police News ] (@InsidePolice) November 18, 2015
In 2012, Schilling’s real killer — a convicted offender who worked temporarily in Schilling’s building as a janitor — was found through genetic evidence.
The misconduct leading to Gates’ conviction, perpetrated by homicide detectives Ronald S. Taylor and Norman Brooks, both of whom are now retired, may cost the District millions.
“It feels like the God of the King James Bible is real, and he answered my prayers,” Gates told the Washington Post as he left the courtroom. “Justice is on the way to being fulfilled. We’ve still got some more work to do. It’s one of the happiest days of my life.”
There is no limit on what the court may award Gates in compensatory and punitive damages during the next phase of the trial.