Woman awarded $2.85 million from Nevada for wrongful conviction

Forty-four years after she was convicted of murder and six years after she was exonerated, Cathy Woods has been awarded $2.85 million from the state of Nevada as compensation for her wrongful conviction.

Woods was twice convicted of the murder of Michelle Mitchell, who was stabbed to death in February 1976.

She spent 32 years in prison before the Washoe Crime Lab was notified that the DNA on a cigarette found near the crime scene match that of Rodney Halbower, who is serving time in an Oregon prison for attempted murder and other violent crimes against women.

Based on the DNA evidence, the charges against Woods were dismissed and she was released in 2014.

Attorney General Aaron Ford said just last week, Washoe District Judge Kathleen Drakulich granted Woods a Certificate of Innocence to go along with the cash award made possible by legislation approved in 2019.

Woods was tried and convicted twice based on her confession to the killing while in a Louisiana mental institution.

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