A Durham, North Carolina man who won a $6 million lawsuit after being wrongfully convicted on two murder charges will likely never see the money after the Durham City Council decided against paying him.
Darryl Anthony Howard, who was exonerated in 2016 and pardoned in 2021 by Gov. Roy Cooper after serving 21 years of an 80-year jail sentence, was awarded $6 million by a federal jury in December, according to The News & Observer.
Howard had been convicted in 1995 on two counts of second-degree murder and one count of arson, though a judge vacated the convictions and ordered Howard's release because of DNA evidence unavailable at the time.
The jury also found that Howard's wrongful convictions were a result of retired detective Darrell Dowdy fabricating evidence and performing an inadequate investigation, according to The News & Observer.
In a series closed-door session meetings between December and February, however, the Durham City Council voted against paying the judgment on Dowdy's behalf. The city also expects Howard to pay the legal fees of the two city employees who were dismissed from the case, according to legal documents.
Howard and his attorney found the city's decision concerning, especially after it paid more than $4 million defending Dowdy and other employees in his civil rights lawsuit against them.
Former prosecutor Mike Nifong, who originally handled Howard's case, was disbarred for lying and misconduct in the case of rape accusations against Duke University lacrosse players who were later found innocent.
"I proved my innocence. I went through every court," Howard told The News & Observer. "Every judge says what this was, even the governor."
"I don’t understand that," he said. "Now I have to fight again."
A spokesperson for Durham Mayor Elaine O'Neal's office told Fox News Digital that no members of the city council are commenting on the case because it is subject to further litigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.