Harford County Man Receives $2.9 Million Compensation For 32 Years Of Wrongful Imprisonment


Credit: Shutterstock

HARFORD COUNTY - A Harford County man was awarded $2.9 million on Wednesday for enduring decades in prison for a crime he did not commit.

John Norman Huffington unjustly served 32 years in prison for a notorious double murder case from 1981. Dubbed the "Memorial Day Murders," Huffington was twice found guilty for the deaths of Diane Becker and her boyfriend, Joseph Hudson.

Huffington, now 60, was arrested at just 18 years old and spent the next decade of his life on death row before his sentence was reduced to double life imprisonment.

Following the introduction of DNA evidence in 2013, his convictions were annulled, and new facts came to light that called into question the original case.

Joseph Cassilly, the former Harford County State's Attorney involved in Huffington's case, was disbarred by the Supreme Court of Maryland in 2021. The court accused Cassilly of concealing evidence beneficial to the defense and lying about it in subsequent years. In response to this prosecutorial misconduct, Huffington was given a full innocence pardon by then-Governor Larry Hogan in January.

At a recent Maryland Board of Public Works meeting, current Governor Wes Moore acknowledged the harm done to Huffington and noted that the state does not get everything right, the Baltimore Sun reports.

"[Huffington's case] serves as a reminder that our state hasn't always gotten it right," Moore said. "Your presence here today reminds us, not just of an injustice that happened, but the fact that progress is possible."

The $2.9 million compensation was calculated using a formula based on the number of days he was in prison, outlined in the Walter Lomax Act. This legislation passed in 2021, governs the method for financially compensating wrongly convicted individuals and is named after Walter Lomax, who was also wrongly convicted and spent almost four decades in prison before his release in 2006.

More News from Havre de Grace
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified