Wrongfully convicted Seattle man paid $497,712 for prison time

Brandon Olebar became the first person to claim a financial award for his time in prison, after serving ten years for crimes he didn't commit. Dan Cassuto reports.

SEATTLE -- Brandon Olebar and his daughter, Creation, both share something in common: Their new lives are just beginning.

Olebar, 31, was released from prison after serving ten years for a burglary and robbery he didn't commit. On Friday, he became the first person to claim a financial award from the state legislature under a new law passed to compensate innocent people sent to prison.

Creation, 30 days old, was born almost exactly nine months after the University of Washington Innocence Project helped set her dad free.

Olebar will be paid $496,712.33, according to documents signed by King County Superior Court Judge Laura Middaugh. That's a payment for 3,626 days in prison.

"I'm totally grateful," said Olebar. "Man, I'm hoping this won't ever be a problem in the future."

"Any system created by man is not perfect. There will always be mistakes," Judge Middaugh added from the bench. "Obviously, money can never compensate you for the time you've lost and life you've lost."

Olebar says he plans to get an education and work with other wrongly convicted prisoners.

According to his lawyer Todd Maybrown, Olebar is the first person to receive money from the state under the new law, which pays $50,000 a year for wrongful conviction.

"It's not just about the money," said Olebar. "It's about the education we learn from this process."


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