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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami man wrongly accused of murder, and later freed by a twist of fate, is going to be well compensated for his whole ordeal.
Taiwan Smart was arrested for the execution style slayings of his two friends, 18-year-old Jonathan Volcy and 14-year-old Raynathan Ray, in 2009.
During Smart’s time in jail, a man by the name of Arsenio Carter was arrested for armed robbing and placed in Smart’s cell.
“The actual shooter was put into that cell, confessed to one of the other members in that cell, which then resulted in a polygraph test being run by the state, which resulted in him being discharged from custody a week later,” said Joe Klock, Smart’s attorney.
Smart spent 19 months in jail before being freed.
Now six years later, a jury has awarded Smart $860,000 plus attorney’s fees.
“This is not just a case for me. It’s my life. This is like the beginning of the end and the beginning of something new,” said Smart.
No matter how much money he receives, the ordeal left the 27-year-old scarred.
“There’s not enough words in the dictionary to accurately describe what you go through in the situation, because you have people don’t respect you anymore. You have people who don’t see you as a person. You become less than trash,” said Smart.
And Smart said he would do anything to get his friends back.
“They were good friends and I wish every day that I didn’t have to deal with this. I would rather have them back than any amount of money, any dollar amount that you can ever put on anything,” said Smart.
Klock represented Smart in the federal civil rights case against the City of Miami.
Smart now works in Klock’s office. He’s been a legal assistant for the past five months, and is grateful for his new life.
Smart’s case was featured on an episode of the highly popular TV show “The First 48” which follows homicide detectives on actual cases.