Settlement Reached With Wrongfully Convicted Sailors In 'Norfolk Four' Case

news photo

NORFOLK, Va. – The city has reached a settlement with the Norfolk Four and will pay them $4.9 million, City Attorney Bernie Pishko confirms to News 3.

The so-called “Norfolk Four” were four sailors convicted of killing and raping a woman in 1997, but it was later revealed a crooked cop forced them into the confessions and another man actually committed the crimes.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe fully pardoned Danial Williams, Joseph Dick, Derek Tice and Eric Wilson in 2017. Earlier this year, the General Assembly and Gov. Northam approved paying them $3.5 million, so in total the four will get $8.4 million.

The defendants were convicted because of their coerced confessions, even though the real rapist and murderer, Omar Ballard, confessed in 1999 to committing the crime alone and his DNA was found at the crime scene, the legislation stated.

Ballard is currently an inmate at Sussex II State Prison and serving two life terms plus 42 years for capital murder, two rapes, two counts of malicious wounding, and abduction.

“There’s no amount of money that can give those years back to them,” said Stephen Northup, an attorney for Wilson. “I think Norfolk recognized its obligation to take responsibility what happened to these four guys and ended up making a generous offer.”

The city’s settlement will be paid out over seven or eight years, Pishko said. The money will come from the risk management fund, which he says is big enough to cover the cost each year. In the event of additional costs, Pishko says the risk management reserve can be used.

The Associated Press first reported the settlement.


©2018 WTKR-TV, Norfolk.  Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.

Read More Show Less

Several hundred U.S. troops will remain in Syria after allied forces clear ISIS fighters out of their last stronghold in the country, officials said on Friday.

President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.

Read More Show Less
Chris Osman (Photo: _chris_osman_designs/Instagram)

The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.

"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."

Read More Show Less
Former Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis (DoD photo)

A Richland, Washington city councilman thinks native son Jim Mattis would make a terrific governor or even president.

Read More Show Less

It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.

Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.

The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.

Read More Show Less