William Lopez spent 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He died on Monday, less than two years after he finally tasted freedom.
Lopez, 55, died on September 20 of complications from an asthma attack he suffered at his home. Convicted in 1989 of killing a suspected drug dealer, a federal judge last year tossed Lopez’s conviction due to faulty evidence and recanted witness testimony. In June, the man filed a $124 million lawsuit against the city of New York. Had Lopez survived, he would have attended a conference for the case this past Monday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, according to HuffingtonPost.com.
Court proceedings are on hold as Lopez’s widow, Alice, is established as holder of the estate. Lopez did not have a will, but his widow can proceed with the lawsuit on his behalf, HuffingtonPost.com reported.
When Lopez was freed from prison in January 2013, he aspired to go to school and assist others who were wrongfully convicted. He wanted to travel and reconnect with his daughter, whose only memories of her father were of him in prison. She was only a year old when he was sent away, according to HuffingtonPost.com.
Friends say Lopez was very much looking forward to being compensated and enjoying the things he was denied behind bars. After his release, Lopez struggled financially and depended on the kindness of others to get by. “He wanted to do some domestic travel to other states, and to travel internationally,” friend and advocate Jeffrey Deskovic told the New York Post. “He wanted to go to college and to go to law school. He wanted to set his wife up in business, and he wanted to be an entrepreneur.” Deskovic established the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation after Deskovic was wrongly convicted of rape and murder. The foundation worked tirelessly for Lopez’s release. More After 20 Years in Jail for a Crime He Did Not Commit, William Lopez Dies After Just 20 Months of Freedom