JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of two men freed after four decades behind bars for a crime they didn't commit was honored Thursday evening.
The NAACP held its Freedom Fund Dinner downtown, paying tribute to Clifford Williams Jr. and his nephew, Hubert "Nathan" Myers, who were wrongfully convicted in a 1976 fatal shooting of a Jacksonville woman and freed from prison 42 years later when a judge vacated their overturned their convictions in March. The ruling followed investigations by the State Attorney’s Office and the Innocence Project.
The NAACP Jacksonville Branch presented an award to Williams, thanking him for his stand for righteousness and justice. Myers was also recognized, but he was in Atlanta and was unable to attend the event.
"I'm glad my daddy right here -- free," Warren Rozier, Williams' son, told News4Jax on Thursday night. "That's a blessing."
A wrongfully convicted individual found innocent is entitled to compensation. Florida law requires them to receive $50,000 annually up to a maximum of $2 million, as long as they don't have any prior felony convictions.
A spokesperson for the State Attorney's Office told News4Jax told that Myers is eligible for the compensation under Florida statute. The spokesperson said Williams is not, but has filed a claims bill seeking compensation.
CBS News reports that Myers has filed a claim for compensation and is expected to see $2 million paid out over at least 10 years through an annuity.
Williams said the fight isn't over:
"Like my dad said, we down but we not out," said Warren Rozier, Williams' son. "The fight has just begun. With God's help, we'll get through this here."
Williams’ and Myers’ case marks the first time an investigation by the Conviction Integrity Unit, a special unit formed by State Attorney Melissa Nelson to reexamine questionable cases, led to a prisoner’s release.