Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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DeJac settles lawsuit with state, shifts focus to city and county

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Buffalo: DeJac settles lawsuit with state, shifts focus to city and county
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After a four-year battle, the Buffalo woman wrongfully convicted of her daughter's murder has settled her lawsuit against New York State and is moving forward with another suit. As YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti reports, Lynn DeJac Peters' attorney alleges there was a major cover-up that sent her to jail for more than a decade.

GETZVILLE, N.Y. -- $2.7 million - That's the settlement reached in Lynn DeJac Peters' lawsuit against New York State for the physical and emotional trauma she suffered during her more than 13 years in prison.

"While Lynn was incarcerated, Lynn was not permitted to visit with her family on a private basis because she wouldn't admit to her guilt," said Steven Cohen, DeJac Peters' attorney.

"Nothing can repay the 14 years we lost. But what we're trying to do is just put our family together and get on with our lives," said Chuck Peters, DeJac Peters' husband.

Cohen says DeJac Peters was convicted in 1994 for the strangulation murder of her daughter Crystallyn Girard, and it was reversed in 2007 based on DNA evidence which pointed to her acquaintance Dennis Donohue.

Cohen says some new evidence played a role in the settlement, after a state-hired forensic pathologist examined tissues from the case and found hemorrhaging consistent with strangulation and sperm inside Crystallyn.

"We also believe that it was discovered by the city of Buffalo Police Department and the Erie County, the former Erie County District Attorney, and covered up," said Cohen.

So they're also suing the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo Police, Erie County, and several people including former District Attorney Frank Clark for $30 million.

"It is my opinion that there was a massive cover-up to protect Dennis Donohue," said Cohen.

While he doesn't know the motive, Cohen says Donohue had connections to police.

Cohen also says Donohue is currently in prison for the strangulation murder of another woman in 1993.

He hopes this lawsuit goes to trial, "We're not going to resolve this case anything short of fairly," said Cohen.

"We're looking for a little bit of truth and a whole lotta justice," said Peters.

The attorney representing former District Attorney Frank Clark sent YNN a statement saying: “There is a vast difference between the standard of proof for a press conference and the standard of proof for a courtroom. We will defend this case in the courtroom, if it’s not dismissed beforehand.”

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