Wrongly Convicted NY Man Dies 4 Months After Winning $7.5 Million In Court

January 7, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Man dies after getting $7.5 million from New York State. Dan Gristwood, the man, who received $7.5 million from the state of New York for being wrongly convicted for nine years of a crime he did not commit, died just four months after becoming a multi-millionaire.

man dies $7.5 million

Man dies after receiving $7.5 million from the state of New York for a crime he did not commit. On Saturday, Dan Gristwood passed away at the age of 48.

According to his brother, Jerry Gristwood, Dan Gristwood, who was battling lung cancer, died at the Upstate Medical University with one of his five children, and his wife by his side.

Jerry Gristwood revealed that his brother, who was a life-long smoker, even in prison, learned that he was sick five months ago, and was determined to try all sorts of treatments in order to live.

In 2005, Dan Gristwood was released after spending 9 years in prison after being wrongly accused of attacking his then-wife, Christina, with a hammer.

Gristwood was originally sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. In 1996, state troopers Matthew Tynan and Frank Jerome interrogated the man for more than 16 hours, and coerced him into confessing to the crime.

Gristwood, who worked two jobs at the time, was questioned with no food, and without sleep for 34 hours; he said he felt like he was brainwashed into signing the confession.

Mastho Davis, the man, who really attacked Christina, confessed at least three times to the horrible crime, but no one believed him despite being arrested 12 times.

In 2003, Davis gave such a detailed confession that authorities were forced to reopen the case. As the investigation was in progress, Davis raped, beat, and attacked three women before going to prison for life.

Christina, who suffered brain injuries during the incident, divorced Gristwood while he was behind bars. She passed away in 2014.

The wrongly convicted man was awarded $5.5 million in May 2013 by a judge, but the decision was appealed by the state. After a lengthy 16-month court battle, the state lost and in September 2014, a new judge ordered that the amount of $7.5 million be given to Dan Gristwood due to interests.

Jerry Gristwood explained that his brother got the chance to buy a pickup and take a little vacation in North Carolina and Texas, but he did not really get to enjoy the money. Gristwood said:

“He didn’t get a chance to enjoy things as much as he wanted. But he did get a little bit of enjoyment.”

Gristwood was able to put $4.4 million into trusts for his five children. He also spent a lovely Christmas with his entire family by his side because he knew it was his last.

Few months ago, Dan Gristwood said he was frustrated that the police officers, who took 9 years from him, were never punished. He explained:

“I don’t have grudges against the state police. There are good state troopers. But then you always get the few (expletives) who don’t want to do their jobs, just straight up have an attitude, thinking they’re better than everybody else.”

Jerry Gristwood explained that Dan Gristwood was able to let go of the bitterness before he died and returned to the kind man he once was.

Wrongly convicted New York man dies four months after getting $7.5 million, Dan Gristwood’s name will forever be linked to failed justice.

What say you?

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Comments (11)

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  1. Vincent Harris says:

    This was a sad case of law enforcement sending an innocent man to prison, to be violated repeated, for a crime he did not commit. Sadly, cop groupies and cops feel that law enforcement can do no wrong and that the ends always justify the means as long as it gets the bad guy off the street.

    It is always tragic when a cop goes down in the line of duty, believe me. However, law enforcement can’t put innocent people in prison. It breeds ill will towards them and the public and law enforcement need to work together in the war on crime so that it is fought properly and effectively.

    • Freedom Lost says:

      How about you stop creating all of these FALSE WARS against the people of this world and stop the inprisonment of your fellow man. Geeze all you people want is more WARS!!!!!

    • Ernie says:

      If I understand what you are trying to convey then I agree with most of your post. Just remember that “cops” put no one in prison. It is the courts (after a guilty verdict is reached) that put people in prison. “Cops” simply arrest people who are “suspected” of committing a crime, their guilt or innocence is determined in court. Now I am unfamiliar with this case however unless the “cops” “manufactured” false evidence and or simply lied in court, then they simply arrested a person suspect of committing a crime. Our justice system is not perfect as it would appear that this case proves. All in all however I do believe it is still the best and most fair in the world.

      • Jodi says:

        Actually their is more going on with the American “justice system” than most people realize. Cops, judges etc… are not the honest protectors of the citizens of our country that people tend to think they are! They are down right “DIRTY!” They take bribes, set people up, buy and sell drugs, kill people, etc…. as a matter of fact they break more laws and commit more crimes that us civilians do! However they get away with it because they are “the law!”

      • Bridge says:

        You’re “unfamiliar with this case”. Did you not read the article? The “COPS” are responsible for his conviction after not doing their job by not properly investigating the case. “In 1996, state troopers Matthew Tynan and Frank Jerome interrogated the man for more than 16 hours, and coerced him into confessing to the crime.
        Gristwood, who worked two jobs at the time, was questioned with no food, and without sleep for 34 hours; he said he felt like he was brainwashed into signing the confession.”

        They did not SIMPLY arrest him. You seriously cannot believe our justice system is the “best and most fair”. Have you done ANY research on the justice system in the 196 official countries in the world? How can you possibly know America has the “best and most fair” justice system? How can you possibly believe after ALL the stories about corrupt cops and unfair mandatory minimum sentences that America has the “best and most fair” justice system in the world?!

        • Somtom says:

          Bridge, I’m sorry to say this, but people like Ernie – and there are far too many of them in this country – live their entire lives in a fact-free zone. Things like weighing evidence, unbiased observation, and logical reasoning aren’t in their toolkit. They desperately seek to offset these deficits by slavishly praising people who have more power than them. Police know this too, and use the fact to intimidate many and railroad more than a few innocent people, too many of whom have been exonerated after years on death row. They’re the lucky ones: too many more have already been executed. Almost as bad is ignorance like Ernie’s leads to applause – as shown here – for the police doing so and not – as shown here, too – sanctioning them for their actions as they all too often should be.

          Ernie’s is a kind of ignorance amplified by conviction, no matter that his grasp of the facts is so superficial as to be laughable, because he really believes it as he illustrates it. He hasn’t even read the article, one that plainly and clearly describes, not that the ” “cops” put no one in prison…” and that “Cops” simply arrest people who are “suspected” of committing a crime” but that they did.

          Suspected by whom, Ernie: your mother-in-law? Your turtle? They’re suspected because rightly or wrongly, the police “suspect” them and arrest them, making their suspicions the basis of too many people’s perceptions, people whose notion of “innocent until proven guilty” – an absolute easily and often overlooked – is replaced with certainty of their involvement because of nothing more than their arrest. “Hey, the cops arrested him, so he must be guilty.” Certainty that’s anything but at that point, courtesy of the police.

          People go to prison, Ernie – sorry this is so basic but obviously it’s news to you – based on “evidence,” whether real or manufactured, that’s developed, maintained, and “investigated” by police who all too often are found to have mis-handled it when they didn’t invent it out of thin air. They are entrusted with sole possession of information used to justify their careers, not neutral finders-of-fact, as well as take away the liberty of those they suspect of guilt. Thousands of drug convictions in Massachusetts were voided last year by a state chemist who didn’t do them – she just marked all the samples “positive” on which basis thousands of people – some guilty, to be sure, but which ones? – went to jail on what was really no evidence at all; manufactured it, as here, via a coercive confession so clearly illegal it should never have been accepted by the court at a defendant’s first trial but was; or give credence to “evidence” that’s not evidence of anything: think of Claus von Bulow’s stepchildren and mother-in-law who, angry they couldn’t pin his wife Sunny’s death on him, “found” evidence, in that case an insulin needle, and brought it to the police. Who knows what happened to it until then, as the so-called “chain of evidence” was broken before it was introduced? What did it prove? No more than the known facts: Sunny von Bulow was a diabetic and her husband, on occasion, helped her inject the insulin used to treat it. Does that prove he killed her? It did the first time he was tried and convicted on the basis that it had evidence that he’d handled it. Per the jury, that made him a murdered, not a husband who helped his wife by giving her an insulin injection. It took Prof. Allen Dershowitz, who’s no prize but very brilliant, to make that simple point clear by winning his appeal. Most people don’t have the money or the high profile to get a lawyer like Dershowitz and instead rot in jail (or are put to death) for that failing on their part: that they’re poor, not that they’re guilty.

          It’s truly sad, and sometimes fatal, how stupid people in this country have become. What’s even sadder is that the ignorant, whose lack of intelligence and skills largely dictate their lack of financial success, tend to be poor – the very people whose lives and liberty are most abused by the police. Race plays a part, but not always: everyone here was white. Class does: OJ got away with a lot (for a while) because he had resources. Gristwood, until he was exonerated, did not. It was one man, and whatever defense he could muster, against the unlimited resources of the State of New York buttressed by evidence that flew in the face of another man’s confession obtained by police far, far more interested in a conviction than justice. He had to prove a negative, something that’s not easy to do: try it sometimne – that he didn’t commit the murder – in the face of of a system determind, regardless of the facts in the case, that he did. The results, sadly, are predictable: “Justice” meted out in court by people like Ernie serving on a jury.

          There’s a lesson here – don’t let your life, to the extent you can help it – be taken by a system that’s not there to work for you and whose outcomes, which is to say one’s guilt or lack of it, are determined by the likes of too many Ernie’s; people who are so smart that they haven’t a clue that much of what they believe – things they know with certainty to be true, as here, are about 180 degrees from the truth.

          Try to behave because if you don’t, you won’t be judged by a jury of your peers. The assumption that your peers are on the same page as you – shown by his comment – is a pretty shaky one to bet your life on.

  2. MtlDeath says:

    It’s not much of a consolation when ya lose a loved one, let alone one that had been gone for 9 years because of a wrongful conviction, but at least that was reversed and he was awarded a large some of money, it couldn’t fix lung cancer, but it will take care of his family now.. and that’s a lot more money n most people make in a lifetime.

  3. Paul says:

    They should have convicted the police that originally arrested him,,,,

  4. David says:

    Doesn’t it say a whole lot because when you go up against a judge, that same judge has an attitude. And it doesn’t matter if you are guilty or not, that same judge is so self righteous and holy! You can’t say anything without that same judge getting his last two words in and no matter what you say, you are wrong!

  5. PonyExpress says:

    This man died with all knowing the truth

    He also was able to provide for his children now
    as well. He innocent of the crime. He is at peace al last.
    Godspeed to his family.

    • Samira Motaghedi says:

      Who cares. I can’t speak for his children, but i’d rather have a broke dad who’s ALIVE, than a vindicated rich dead one.

      It’s a sad story all-round: for his former decreased wife and the three other rape victims, and the cops who mistakenly arrested the wrong guy.


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