Details of DeJac Settlement Announced

November 13, 2012 Updated Nov 13, 2012 at 10:18 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

...
November 13, 2012 Updated Nov 13, 2012 at 10:18 PM EDT


WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y (WKBW) At a morning press conference, attorney Steven Cohen explained details of a settlement with New York State that will pay his client, Lynn DeJac-Peters, $2.7 million dollars.

The money is compensation for the physical and emotional trauma that Lynn DeJac suffered during her more than 13 years in prison.

In 1994, Lynn DeJac was sentenced to 25-years to life for the strangulation death of her 13-year old daughter Crystallynn Girard.

Prosecutors said she killed her daughter after an argument inside the family's Babcock Street home on February 14, 1993.

Throughout the trial, Lynn DeJac maintained she was innocent, but that assertion led to her being treated differently in jail.

"Lynn was sent to a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane because a doctor said she seemed so convinced that she did not commit this murder that she is obviously psychotic," explained her lawyer Steven Cohen.

DeJac was also not allowed to have private visitation with her infant twins.

In 2007, Lynn DeJac-Peters, who was now married to Chuck Peters, was released from jail based on new DNA evidence that pointed a finger at her ex-boyfriend Dennis Donahue.

Donahue would later be convicted of the strangulation death of Joan Giambra from Buffalo in September 1993.

He is still a person of interest in a similar death from 1975 where Carol Reed was strangled to death.

New York State finally agreed to settle Dejac's wrongful incarceration law suit after pathologists from the State reexamined tissue evidence from Crystallynn Girard.

"There was a grotesque injustice and we arrived at the 2.7 million dollars which we thought was fair compensation for the state's component of the case," added attorney Steven Cohen.

A federal lawsuit against the City of Buffalo and Erie County is still ongoing.

Dejac-Peters is suing Erie County for the actions of former District Attorney Frank Clark.

The City of Buffalo is being sued for the actions of the police department in their investigation.

"It is my opinion that there was a massive cover up to protect Dennis Donahue," added Cohen.

The Federal lawsuit alleges that actions by the Erie County District Attorney's Office, specifically Frank Clark and Joseph Marusak, hindered the Buffalo Police Department's Cold Case Squad from investigating the DeJac case further, and that hinderance kept Lynn DeJac incarcerated for a longer period of time.

The suit seeks $10 million dollars in punitive damages against the defendants, and compensatory damages in the amount of $20 million dollars.