Man sues after spending 25 years on California death row
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who spent nearly 25 years on California’s death row before being exonerated has sued Kern County over his conviction.
Sixty-nine-year-old Vicente Benavides filed the federal civil rights suit on Wednesday, alleging prosecutors used coerced testimony and false medical evidence to frame him for the 1991 rape and killing of his girlfriend’s 21-month-old daughter in 1991.
The former farmworker says county medical examiners falsely attributed injuries the girl suffered to deadly sexual assault.
He was freed after the California Supreme Court last year overturned his conviction, saying false evidence was used at trial and no sexual assault occurred.
The suit names the county pathologist, district attorney’s office and the city of Delano.
KERO-TV says the Delano Police Department and the county DA’s and coroner’s offices declined to comment.