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Last Lawsuit in Wrongful Paris Convictions Settled

Randy Steidl

Former death row inmate Randy Steidl speaks at a news conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn., Thursday, May 28, 2009 under the auspices of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Steidl and members of the association urged Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell to sign a law repealing Connecticut's death penalty instead of vetoing it as she says she will. (Bob Child/AP)

One of two men imprisoned for a 1980’s double murder in Paris, Illinois says a federal court settlement does nothing to address what happened nearly 30 years ago.

Last week, a federal judge in Urbana signed off on Randy Steidl’s $3.5 million settlement. 

He was wrongfully convicted in 1987 in the deaths of newlyweds Dyke and Karen Rhoads, spending 17 years in prison, 12 of those years were on death row.  

Steidl was exonerated by a federal court in 2003. The settlement ends the last of the lawsuits filed by Steidl and co-defendant Herb Whitlock.

Steidl said this amount and a prior civil case against state police, bringing $2.5 million prove his innocence, but Stiedl added that there is more to be done.

“My pursuit of justice will not end until my name is completely cleared by an innocence pardon from the governor," he said. "And it’s just sad that after over 25 years the state of Illinois has no interest in any kind of justice for Dyke and Karen Rhoads’ family.”

Steidl said investigators have failed to respond to the efforts of former state police lieutenant Michale Callahan, who sued his superiors for thwarting his efforts to re-open the case. 

Callahan lost out on his award in an appeal from the state.

The Steidl settlement approved by U.S. District Judge Harold Baker involved the city of Paris, two police officers, Edgar County and a prosecutor. 

Steidl attorney, Flint Taylor of the People's Law Office of Chicago said further legal efforts will be needed to receive some of that award. 

Whitlock settled his case earlier for an undisclosed sum.

In the last several years, Steidl has visited several states in an effort to abolish the death penalty. He just returned from Colorado, and plans to visit Delaware next.