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Suit Alleges Wrongful Imprisonment, Seeks $500,000


A Springfield man who spent three years in prison for murder before he was acquitted in a second trial has filed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

   In the complaint filed in state court Tuesday Charles Wilhite is seeking $500,000 for the damages caused by his wrongful conviction and lost liberty.  Last January, Wilhite filed a federal civil rights complaint against two Springfield police detectives alleging they fabricated evidence and intimidated witnesses, according to Wilhite’s attorney Howard Friedman.

" The police officers really put their thumbs on the scales of justice."

Wilhite was convicted of murder in 2010 for the shooting of a man outside a small convenience store in Springfield in 2008.  He was sentenced to life  in prison.   Two witnesses later recanted their testimony, a judge vacated the conviction and Wilhite was found not guilty at a second trial in January 2013.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.