General Assembly bill would compensate Norfolk Four

Posted at 1:22 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 17:36:35-05

NORFOLK, Va. - A bill in the General Assembly would compensate the famed Norfolk Four if approved.

House Bill 762 would provide nearly $3.5 million to the four men. The bill was recently amended in a subcommittee to add that the bill would not be effective unless the city of Norfolk also contributes nearly $3.5 million. It is still making its way through the General Assembly.

Last year, Gov. Terry McAuliffe fully pardoned the four former sailors. Danial Williams, Joseph Dick, Derek Tice and Eric Wilson, known as "The Norfolk Four," confessed to the 1997  murder and rape of a woman after they were threatened with the death penalty and other high-pressure interrogation tactics. No DNA or physical evidence of any kind tied them to the crime.

Police later arrested Omar Ballard after they learned it was his DNA at the scene of the crime. He insisted he acted alone. Ballard admitted that he had been involved in a three week crime spree against women in the same neighborhood when he killed the victim, .

The lead detective on the case, Glenn Ford, was previously disciplined for obtaining false confessions and extracted the false confessions from the Norfolk Four. He was convicted in 2010 of crimes that involved lying to judges and prosecutors. He is serving a 12 year federal prison sentence.

In addition to the bill, the four men have each threatened to sue the city for a combined $68 million. News 3 reached one of the men's attorneys on the phone who said he had no comment, but said he is currently in negotiations with the city.

A phone call to Norfolk City Attorney Bernie Pishko was not returned.