The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office has proposed a $7.5 million settlement by the city of lawsuits filed by two men wrongfully imprisoned for 13 years for a 1989 murder.
John Tennison and Antoine Goff were convicted in San Francisco Superior Court in 1990 of first-degree murder for the gang-related shooting of Roderick “Cooley” Shannon.
Shannon was shot Aug. 19, 1989 in a supermarket parking lot in the city’s Visitacion Valley neighborhood. Police believed the murder was related to an ongoing dispute between gangs in the Sunnydale and Hunters Point areas.
A federal judge in Oakland in 2003 found that prosecutors had suppressed evidence in the case, granted Tennison’s appeal and released him from prison. Goff was released the same year after a superior court judge in San Francisco vacated his conviction.
The suppressed evidence included a post-trial, but pre-sentencing, confession to police by another man, Lovinsky Ricard, that he had committed the murder.
In 2004, both men filed civil rights lawsuits against the city.
“The settlement we’re proposing is weighed against the costs and risks of further litigation, which could include appeals,” City Attorney’s office spokesman Matt Dorsey said Monday.
“In addition to that, civil rights cases like these carry an added risk to the city, in terms of paying attorneys’ fees,” Dorsey said. “So financially, we think that this is a prudent settlement.”
The Board of Supervisors will consider the settlements — $4.6 million for Tennison and $2.9 million for Goff–at a meeting of the full board this afternoon.