Leonard Allen Cure, who spent over 16 years behind bars on a wrongful conviction was fatally shot during a traffic stop by a sheriff’s deputy. The incident is currently being reviewed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The 53-year-old man was confirmed to be deceased by Seth Miller, who had represented him in his exoneration case. The executive director of the Innocence Project of Florida was devastated by the news, which he received from the man’s family.
In a statement, he said “he can only imagine what it’s like to know [your loved one] is innocent and watch as he is given a life sentence, only to be exonerated years later and fatally shot”.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Cure, who was driving along Interstate 95 at the time, was pulled over by a Camden County deputy. At his request, Cure got out of the vehicle. While he initially cooperated with the officer, he became “violent” after being told he was being arrested.
When he failed to listen, the officer allegedly stunned him with a stun gun. Cure subsequently began to assault the deputy. The agency said the officer tried to subdue him with the stun gun again, but when he was unsuccessful, drew his firearm and shot the man.
They have not revealed what prompted the officer to pull over his vehicle on Interstate 95.
While Miller couldn’t specifically comment on his death, he did say that he has represented dozens of individuals over the years, who were convicted of crimes and later exonerated. He also added that those who are exonerated often struggle with the concern that they’ll be incarcerated and convicted again for something they did not do.
In Georgia, it’s customary for law enforcement agencies to ask the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate shootings involving deputies. The agency will conduct an investigation and submit its findings to the Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney.
Cure’s Previous Run-ins with the Law
In 2003, Cure was arrested for armed robbery at a drug store and sentenced to life in prison as he had a previous criminal history for robbery and other crimes.
However, it was obvious that the case had issues from the beginning. It wasn’t until a second jury that his conviction eventually came.
In 2020, a new Conviction Review Unit from the Broward State Attorney’s Office asked the judge to release him from jail. According to the review team, they found substantial evidence that Cure had solid alibis that were previously shoved aside. There was also a lack of witnesses and physical evidence that put him at the scene.
A group of local lawyers, which made up an independent review panel, agreed with the findings.
Cure was eventually released in April 2020. His conviction and sentence were officially vacated by the judge that December.
In June, Cure was granted over $800,000 in compensation for his wrongful conviction, in addition to educational benefits. The man, who resided in an Atlanta suburb, received the money a couple of months later.
According to Harold F. Pryor, a Broward State Attorney, he visited the prosecutors at their office after he was freed and helped their staff with training in the most thorough and fairest way possible.