MINEOLA, N.Y. — Two suburban New York men who spent 18 years in prison for the 1984 rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl, only to be exonerated when a DNA test showed that another unknown assailant had committed the crimes, were awarded $18 million each Thursday in a federal civil rights lawsuit.
The verdict, announced in U.S. District Court in Central Islip, followed a four-week trial. The jury found that the lead detective in the 1984 Nassau County police investigation had both fabricated hair evidence and hid other evidence from prosecutors. Because of those actions, the jury found that John Restivo and Dennis Halstead were entitled to a combined $36 million in damages.
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