Herbert Alford’s life was turned upside down after being wrongfully convicted of a 2011 murder. Alford maintained that at the time of the shooting, he was renting a vehicle several miles away from the scene. A receipt from Hertz would have established Alford’s alibi, but the rental car company did not turn over the receipt in a timely fashion, so Alford was unable to prove his whereabouts when the crime occurred.
Alford was wrongfully convicted of second-degree murder in 2016 and accordingn to Hertz, they turned over the receipt in 2018. Finally in 2020 after nearly five years in prison, Alford walked out a free man. The receipt proved that Alford was renting a car from the Lansing, Mich., airport just minutes prior to the murder of 23-year-old Michael Adams at a Lansing strip mall. The timing and distance made it physically impossible for Alford to be the shooter.
The National Registry of Exoneration says Alford was mistakenly identified as the gunman. Alford was arrested in 2015 following information provided by a suspect in a separate crime, used to “cut a deal with police,” according to the exonerated report.
Alford has now filed a lawsuit against Hertz and is seeking compensation for the years he spent in prison for a crime he did not commit.
“Had the defendants not ignored and disobeyed numerous court orders requiring them to produce the documentation that eventually freed Mr. Alford, he would not have spent over 1,700 days incarcerated,” Alford’s attorney Jamie White said, in a complaint acquired by CNN.
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A spokesperson for Hertz informed CNN that the company is “deeply saddened to learn Mr. Alford’s experience.” The spokesperson continued, “While we were unable to find the historic rental record from 2011 when requested in 2015, we continued our good faith efforts to locate it. With advances in data search in the years following, we were able to locate the rental record in 2018 and promptly provided it.”
Despite Hertz’ efforts of finding the receipt in 2018, and Alford being freed in 2020, nearly five years of his life are removed. Since his release in December 2020, attorney White says Alford is having a difficult time adjusting to life post-imprisonment.
“He is going through some things right now. He’s trying to figure out his next move… and we’re hopeful that, you know, he’s going to get on track shortly,” says White.
Although there is “no dollar figure that’s going to make this right,” as White notes, Alford is seeking compensation in excess of $25,000.
Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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