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Settlement approved with wrongfully convicted Kansas man

Olin Pete Coones
Posted at 3:38 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 16:39:11-04

TOPEKA, Kan. — The family of a man who died shortly after being released from prison for a killing he did not commit will receive a settlement of more than $800,000.

The State Finance Council on Thursday approved the settlement for the family of Olin "Pete" Coones, who spent 12 years in prison before he was exonerated in November. Coones died of cancer in February, 108 days after he was released from prison.

The approval comes weeks after a Shawnee County District Court judge signed off on the $826,301 payment at the request of Attorney General Derek Schmidt, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Coones was charged in the 2008 deaths of Kathleen Schroll and her husband, Carl, in Kansas City, Kansas. He was convicted of killing only Schroll.

He was exonerated in November 2020 after prosecutors determined the deaths were a murder-suicide orchestrated by Kathleen Schroll, who tried to frame Coones.

The settlement also calls for records of his arrest and conviction to be expunged. His family will be given an official document certifying his innocence.

It is the fifth time a case has been settled under the state's wrongful conviction law, which gives individuals $65,000 for each year they were incarcerated, plus attorney's fees. Five other cases are being litigated.