Chicago A man convicted of murder and imprisoned for 15 years was framed by two homicide detectives who coached the eyewitnesses, a federal jury hearing a civil lawsuit found Friday.
James Newsome, 46, was sentenced to life in prison for the 1979 slaying of a grocery store owner during a holdup.
His conviction was expunged in 1994 when it was established that fingerprints at the scene were those of another man, who had gone to death row for a different murder.
"I am angry," Newsome said after the verdict. "I didn't go to day camp. I was in there with some of the most notorious killers in the world."
A damages hearing in the case was scheduled for next week.
Newsome was pardoned by Gov. Jim Edgar and initially sued five Chicago police officers. Federal Judge Paul Plunkett let the allegations stand against two of the five officers, John McCabe and Raymond McNally.
One of the eyewitness, Anthony Rounds, later became a key witness on behalf of Newsome. He testified that when he went to a police lineup he was told by officers: "Pick No. 3." Newsome occupied the No. 3 position.
The two detectives, now retired, denied coaching or manipulating witnesses.
Newsome, imprisoned at the age of 24, said his biggest regret is that his prison time prevented him from spending "quality time" with his mother who now is suffering from leukemia.