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Tennessee millionaire Lawrence McKinney

Tennessee man wrongly jailed for 31 years finally becomes a millionaire

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By KAYLIN JORGE, WZTV

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - A Tennessee man wrongly jailed for more than 31 years has been awarded $1 million from the state.

Lawrence McKinney, 61, of Wilson County was exonerated after new DNA evidence led to his rape and burglary conviction being overturned.

McKinney then set out to receive the legal maximum of $1 million for wrongful imprisonment, which was granted by the Tennessee Board of Claims on Wednesday.

McKinney's 1978 conviction in Memphis was overturned in 2009, and he was released from prison. An attorney said McKinney was given $75 upon release from prison.

"All my 20s and all my 30s and 40s, they were taken away from me,” McKinney said in a previous interview with FOX 17 News. “I didn't have a chance to build something for myself."

McKinney couldn't seek compensation until Gov. Bill Haslam exonerated him on Dec. 20.

A breakdown of the award:

- Initial payment of $353,000 in attorney's fees
- $647,000 in a monthly annuity that will pay McKinney $3,350 per life starting May 1. This payment is guaranteed for 10 years.

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