Man wrongly convicted of murder sues car rental company for failing to provide a receipt to support his alibi

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Herbert Alford was wrongfully convicted of second degree murder in 2016 and released in 2020 after the Hertz Corporation provided a receipt showing Alford was renting a car at Lansing Airport minutes before the murder. Hertz shared the documents with the court in 2018, more than two years after being first contacted by Alford’s lawyers.

“If the defendants had not ignored and disobeyed numerous court orders requiring them to produce the documents which ultimately freed Mr Alford, he would not have spent more than 1,700 days in jail,” the lawyers wrote. ‘Alford in a complaint obtained by CNN.

In 2011, Alford was falsely identified as the gunman who killed 23-year-old Michael Adams at a Lansing shopping center, according to the National Exemption Registry.

He was arrested in 2015, after a suspect in another drug-related crime “made a deal with the police” and provided information on Alford, according to the registry. He was convicted of second degree murder in 2016.

This Wayne County, Michigan program helps exonerate people for crimes they didn't commit.  Now he's going all over the state
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Alford’s lawyers said they asked Hertz for records that corroborate Alford’s alibi. Hertz did not respond, they said, until 2018 – more than a year after a jury found Alford guilty of murder, among other charges.

Records provided by Hertz in 2018 showed Alford hired a car minutes before Adams’ murder, which took place about 20 minutes away, Alford’s lawyer Jamie White told CNN.

Alford spent nearly five years in prison before all charges against him were dismissed in February 2020. He was on bail from February to December 2020, according to the complaint.

But the years he spent in jail for a crime he didn’t commit could have been avoided, his lawyers said, had Hertz provided the receipt when he first applied.

Hertz says he tried to find the receipt in 2016

A spokesperson for Hertz, which recently filed a reorganization plan in bankruptcy court, told CNN the company was “deeply saddened to learn of Mr Alford’s experience.”
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“Although we were unable to find the historic rental record for 2011 when it was requested in 2015, we have continued our good faith efforts to locate it,” the spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. “Thanks to the progress of data research in the years that followed, we were able to locate the rental record in 2018 and quickly provided it.

Since his release in December, Alford has struggled to adjust to life after his incarceration, White said.

“He’s going through some things right now,” he told CNN. “He’s trying to find his next shot … and we’re hoping that, you know, he’s going to get back on track shortly.”

Alford is seeking compensation in excess of $ 25,000, according to the complaint. But there is “no dollar amount that will fix that,” White said.

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