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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Commissioners give final OK on $2.25 million settlement for exonerated trio

Robert Larson, Tyler Gassman and Paul Statler talked at Mission Park in Spokane on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, about the years they spent in prison for crimes they did not commit. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Robert Larson, Tyler Gassman and Paul Statler talked at Mission Park in Spokane on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, about the years they spent in prison for crimes they did not commit. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane County commissioners on Tuesday gave final approval on a $2.25 settlement between the county’s insurer and three men who were wrongfully convicted after a flawed investigation by Sheriff’s Office detectives.

Robert Larson, Tyler Gassman and Paul Statler were convicted of several felonies on the word of jailhouse informants who implicated the trio in a 2008 robbery. All three spent four years behind bars, even though two had alibis and an informant later confessed that he and another man had conspired to falsely implicate the trio.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has stood by the work of his detectives, even though an internal report found the criminal investigation “could have been more thorough” and “mistakes and assumptions” were made.

The exonerated men were released in 2013 and filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging the Sheriff’s Office engaged in recklessness and witness-tampering. The settlement agreement was reached last week after mediation with the Washington Counties Risk Pool, which insures Spokane County.

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