CARSON CITY– DeMarlo Berry was granted a Certificate of Innocence and awarded $2.25 million in statutory damages for the more than 22-year prison term served following his wrongful incarceration, according to a statement released this week by Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford.
Berry is the first person in Nevada to receive the Certificate of Innocence under a new statute—NRS 41.900—as a result of Assembly Bill 267 during the 2019 Legislative Session. The bill proposed to compensate persons who have been wrongfully incarcerated if they can prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that they did not commit the crime for which they were convicted, were not an accomplice, and did not otherwise cause their own conviction. Additional costs, including reasonable attorney fees, educational expenses, counseling services and certain other reimbursements are also permitted.
During the 2019 Legislative Session, Berry testified in favor of Assembly Bill 267 and personally discussed the bill with AG Ford during the Session.
In 1995, Berry was convicted by the State of Nevada in Clark County for first-degree murder, robbery and burglary in connection with the alleged robbery and burglary of a Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Las Vegas. He was sentenced to life in prison.
A Las Vegas man named Steven Jackson later confessed to committing the crimes. The Conviction Integrity Unit of the Clark County District Attorney’s Office investigated and confirmed Jackson’s confession. The State then vacated and dismissed the charges against Berry, releasing him from prison in 2017.
On July 8, 2020, Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Cristina D. Silva entered stipulated orders, which AG Ford agreed to grant. The orders have been scheduled for final approval at the upcoming Board of Examiners meeting on Aug. 11, 2020.