NEW YORK — A New York City man freed after serving 23 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit died over the weekend, his attorney said Monday.
William Lopez passed away on Saturday due to complications from an asthma attack, attorney Dennis Kelly said.
The death came days before Lopez’s $124 million federal civil lawsuit against the city for false imprisonment was set to begin.
Kelly said a pre-motion conference that had been set for Monday was adjourned to Oct. 17.
“The case can’t go forward until we can get someone appointed as a representative to the estate, and that will probably be his wife Alice,” he said.
Jeffrey Deskovic, whose Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, helped connect Lopez with his legal team and highlight his case, called Lopez’s death “unfortunate and untimely.”
“We are proud of the significant role the foundation played in securing his freedom,” said Deskovic, whose foundation also provided Lopez with housing and helped with other issues. “Bill made it a priority to continue the fight against the wrongful convictions of others.”
The 55-year-old Bronx man was freed in January 2013 after a judge threw out the murder conviction, calling the 1989 case “rotten from Day 1.”
Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson dropped an appeal by his predecessor Charles Hynes.
The case involved two men who shot a drug dealer with a double-barreled shotgun. Although no murder weapon or forensic evidence was found at the scene, prosecutors relied on two witnesses.