Man cleared of murder now fights for compensation

Ionia County

DETROIT (AP) — A man whose case helped inspire a state law that gives money to the wrongfully convicted is now fighting to win compensation.

David Gavitt spent 26 years in prison in the deaths of his wife and two young daughters — who were killed in a fire at their Ionia home in March 1985 — before a prosecutor agreed the arson evidence behind his conviction wasn’t credible.

Gavitt would qualify for more than $1 million under Michigan’s Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act, which went into effect last year.

Yet the state is resisting his request for money and even questioning whether he’s really innocent.

So far, Judge Michael Talbot is siding with the attorney general’s office. Talbot says Gavitt still must present “clear and convincing evidence” that he didn’t kill his family.

Gavitt calls the struggle a “slap in the face.”

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