South Shore Headlines

A man wrongfully convicted in the 1995 killing of a South Milwaukee High School student is getting $6.5 million from the City of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting.

Here is the story. From it …

Chaunte Ott filed a federal civil rights lawsuit after his release in 2009, claiming that Milwaukee police detectives pressured witnesses into testifying falsely that they had been with Ott during the murder of Jessica Payne, a 16-year-old runaway.

“Lawsuits based on events occurring nearly two decades ago present hurdles that make defending such cases exceptionally difficult,” read a statement released by the city late Tuesday.

The case had been scheduled to begin trial in Milwaukee federal court last week. A similar suit from another man wrongly convicted of killing someone later linked to Ellis remains pending.

“Our client is obviously not going to get back the 13 years that were unjustly taken from him, but we appreciate the city’s agreement to provide fair compensation,” said Jon Loevy, one of Ott’s attorneys. “Chaunte continues to rebuild his life, working and enjoying time with his family.”

Ott, now 40, won his freedom with the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, which began working on his case years earlier. In 2007, it was learned that DNA taken from the Payne crime scene did not match Ott or the two men who had testified against him, both of whom later recanted.

It did match DNA taken from two other murdered women, one of whom Ellis was later convicted of killing. Still, it took two more years for Ott to leave prison. …

At the time prosecutors declined to retry Ott, Payne’s stepmother said she still believed he was responsible, though she didn’t expect prosecutors to try him again. A retrial would have been complicated not only by the DNA evidence but also by the fact that two key state witnesses had recanted the testimony and one had died.

The Payne case remains an open investigation.

And here are some other South Shore headlines …

Also, County Supervisor Pat Jursik has published her new newsletter, and NOW has a new police blotter.

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