By Corey Shaffer, February 2nd 2016
A Cleveland man wrongfully convicted of arson after someone drug him and left him in the basement of a burning building settled a lawsuit Tuesday with the state of Ohio.
Jack Dempsey was found unconscious in the basement of a burning Cleveland building in 1995 and later convicted for arson. Evidence later showed that someone left him in the basement and set the building ablaze.
Lawyers for the state asked the Ohio Court of Claims to approve $337,000 payment to Dempsey to settle a lawsuit he brought against the state through the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office for his 1996 conviction, according to a press release.
The settlement marks the end to Dempsey’s years-long effort to clear his name in the bizarre case.
Dempsey became close friends with a woman who later started dating a strip-club bouncer. The woman later learned that the bouncer had asked her daughter to become a dancer at the strip club. Dempsey went to the club to confront the man.
A dancer at the club told police she saw the bouncer put something into Dempsey’s drink, and later saw Dempsey stumbling and “acting like he was drugged,” according to court records.
Later that night, a business at Lorain Avenue and West 112th Street caught fire, and firefighters found Dempsey unconscious in the basement.
Dempsey told investigators that he did not remember how he got in the building, but said he remembered being shot in the eye with a syringe at an apartment.
Doctors who treated Dempsey found alcohol, morphine and benzodiazepine in his system.
Police accused Dempsey of breaking in through the building’s basement and setting the fire, and he was charged with arson.
During his trial, doctors testified that it was likely Dempsey had been shot in the eye with a syringe full of morphine, and that someone had slipped a pain killer into his drink at the club.
Dempsey was convicted in 1996, and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
He was released in 2003. A federal judge vacated Dempsey’s conviction two years later and ordered a new trial. He was found not guilty of all charges in 2007.
Last year, a judge found that Dempsey was a “wrongfully convicted person.”
This article originally appeared on the February 2nd edition of the Cleveland.com website. To view it entirely, click here.