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Waukegan to pay $7.5M to man wrongfully convicted of murder

Juan Rivera, who wrongfully served more than 19 years in prison for the 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old Waukegan girl, smiles during a news conference Friday, March 20, 2015, in Chicago. | Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

WAUKEGAN — The Waukegan City Council has voted to approve a $7.5 million settlement of a lawsuit filed by an Illinois man who wrongfully served nearly 20 years in prison for the 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old Waukegan girl.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Wrongful conviction leads to record settlement

The $7.5 million is Waukegan’s share of a $20 million settlement with Juan Rivera. The Chicago Tribune reports a city attorney said the settlement was “the best economic decision the city could make” after it was left out of negotiations between Rivera and other parties involved in the murder investigation, including Lake County, which will pay $3.5 million.

In 1993, Rivera initially was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in the rape and stabbing death of Holly Staker.

He was retried twice before his release in December 2011.