Grant Williams, who spent 23 years of his life in prison for a murder he did not commit, will receive a $7 million settlement from Staten Island.
In 1997, Grant, who worked at Wu-Tang Clan’s Staten Island studio, was convicted of fatally shooting 20-year-old Shdell Lewis outside of the Stapleton NYCHA housing complex.
No physical, forensic, or digital evidence tied Grant Williams to the crime, and some witnesses testified that he wasn’t the gunman.
One person even testified that he and Grant spent the night at the Wu-Tang studio on the night of the shooting.
But, prosecutors suggested a hat with a Wu-Tang Clan logo that was left by the shooter connected Grant to the crime.
Grant served 23 years behind bars before being paroled in October 2019, but he still wanted to clear his name.
Grant unsuccessfully appealed his conviction for years before Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon’s office agreed to review it.
After a thorough review of the case, prosecutors joined Grant in seeking dismissal of his conviction.
In July 2021, a Richmond County judge vacated his conviction after reviewing the case.
Outside of the courtroom, Grant said:
I used to tell everyone in prison, ‘I’m innocent.
They’d say, ‘Aw Williams, everybody says that.’
I’d say, ‘I’m telling you the truth. One day you’re gonna see me on the news, and you’re gonna see that I was innocent.’
Watch the news report below.
City Comptroller Brad Lander said the settlement is in everyone’s best interests.
Grant Williams spent 23 years in jail for a crime that he did not commit.
While no amount of money can bring those years back for Mr. Williams or his family, I am pleased that we were able to move quickly to a fair and early resolution of this claim.
Grant Williams has also appeared as a guest and talked about his story on the Joe Budden Podcast.
Grant’s case is the first successful wrongful conviction case brought on Staten Island.
He deserves every penny of that $7 million settlement and then some.