Anthony Caravella to Be Paid $7 Million by Cops Who Framed Him, Jury Says
Anthony Caravella spent 9,389 days in prison after he was convicted of the rape and murder of a Miramar woman.
The jury in his civil lawsuit decided two of the four arresting officers are liable for framing Caravella who, they say, as a mentally challenged 15-year-old, was coerced into falsely confessing to the crime.
Eight jurors unanimously found that officers George Pierson and William Mantesta acted with malice and reckless indifference to Caravella and violated his constitutional right against malicious prosecution.
The officers were found liable, and the jury awarded Caravella a total of $7 million in damages.
The two other officers, former Miramar cop Bill Guess and now-retired Broward Sheriff's Major Tony Fantigrassi, were found not liable after the five-week civil rights trial in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.
Pierson and Mantesta were found to have coerced Caravella, who had an IQ of 67, into confessing to the crime, while they withheld clear evidence that could have freed him not long after his arrest.
DNA eventually set Caravella free in 2009, after he wrongfully spent nearly 30 years in prison.
Jurors ordered Mantesta to pay Caravella a total of $4 million, with $1.5 million for compensation and $2.5 million in punitive damages.
Pierson is to pay $1 million in compensation and $2 million in punitive damages.
"I feel good that it's over with," said Caravella, who is now 44 years old. "I feel like it took a long time, but I'm just glad that everybody knows what happened -- that's what I feel good about."