Man released from prison after 25 years for wrongful murder conviction sues city

Man released from prison after 25 years for wrongful murder conviction sues city
Man released from prison after 25 years for wrongful murder conviction sues city

INDIANAPOLIS — A man who served over half his life in prison for a wrongful murder conviction is now suing the city of Indianapolis and IMPD officers.

PREVIOUS | Man released from prison 25 years after murder for wrongful conviction (wrtv.com)

Leon Benson served 25 years for the August 1998 murder of Kasey Schoen, who was shot to death in his car in the 1300 block of North Pennsylvania Avenue.

On March 9, Leon Benson’s first degree murder conviction was vacated by a Marion County judge after a joint re-investigation by the University of San Francisco School of Law Racial Justice Clinic (USFCA) and the Conviction Integrity Unit.

Now, Benson is suing the city of Indianapolis and three IMPD officers. Kolleen Bunch, his co-plaintiff, is the victim, Kasey Schoen’s sister.

“Leon Benson is the first person to be exonerated by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit. Kolleen Bunch, his co-plaintiff, is the victim, Kasey Schoen’s sister. Together, Mr. Benson and Ms. Bunch are the first known exoneree and victim’s family to file suit against officers for the egregious misconduct that caused an innocent person to be wrongfully incarcerated while doing nothing to investigate the real killer and instead trying to manipulate the victim’s family into believing that Mr. Benson was guilty despite his exoneration. Together, Mr. Benson and Ms. Bunch seek justice for the tragic damage done to themselves and their families,” the lawsuit allegations.

According to the lawsuit, evidence pointing to the real shooter was buried by the lead detective in the case.

“The case against Benson rested on a cross-racial identification made in the near darkness from 150 feet by a frightened white newspaper carrier, and the equally questionable identification by a man from the neighborhood with a history of mental illness and who held a grudge against Benson,” the lawsuit states.

Lawyers for Benson say the wrongful conviction was not an accident but the result of “intentional misconduct.”

“This lawsuit seeks to obtain justice for Leon and his family, but also Kasey’s family, who deserve justice for the unfathomable damage caused by Defendants’ egregious misconduct in letting the true killer roam free while police manipulated them into believing an innocent person was responsible for their loved ones’ death. That type of misconduct ends here,” the lawsuit states.

WRTV has reached out to IMPD for comment but has not received a response yet.

RELATED | Leon Benson returns to Indianapolis one year after exoneration

Leon Benson returns to Indianapolis one year after exoneration

 
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