State budget benefits Robert Davis

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Robert Davis finally will receive compensation for the nearly 13 years he spent in prison.

Ryan Jones Robert Davis finally will receive compensation for the nearly 13 years he spent in prison. Ryan Jones

The General Assembly’s passage May 30 of a budget that expands Medicaid makes nearly 400,000 Virginians now eligible for health insurance. The previously stalled budget also helps a local man who spent almost 13 years in prison.

Robert Davis turned 34 years old May 22, and one thing he didn’t get for his birthday was the state-mandated compensation for a wrongful conviction for the 2003 Crozet slayings of Nola Charles and her toddler son.

False confession experts called his Albemarle police interview a “textbook case” and Governor Terry McAuliffe granted Davis a full pardon in December 2016. Yet the nearly $600,000 he’s eligible for under Virginia’s formula for wrongful incarceration had been held up by the lack of a budget.

“The good news is with all the political posturing, we got it done in the end,” says Delegate David Toscano, who carried the bill authorizing $585,313 in relief to Davis.

Davis has struggled in the two-and-a-half years since he was released from prison, working four or five part-time jobs to make $12,000 last year. He says he’s lived in fear his car would die on him, and he wanted to use the $10,000 tuition included in his compensation to get a certification in HVAC, electrical or home repair.

He’ll get an initial lump sum payment of $116,463, with the balance going into an annuity.

“The money may appear to be substantial, but it does not nearly cover 13 years of his life,” says Davis’ attorney Steve Rosenfield.

“I’m excited,” says Davis. “I can quit three of my jobs and keep the two I really like.”—Lisa Provence

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