Hickory City Council approves $3.2M settlement agreement with Willie Grimes

Staff Writer

HICKORY – In a special meeting, held August 24, Hickory City Council voted unanimously to approve a settlement agreement with Mr. Willie Grimes in the amount of $3,250,000.

Grimes was convicted of the rape and kidnapping of Carrie Lee Elliot in July of 1988. He was sentenced to life, plus nine years. After serving 24 years of his sentence, Mr. Grimes was released in 2012 while still maintaining his innocence. His claim of innocence was investigated by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, a State agency which investigates post-conviction claims of innocence. The Commission found that latent finger prints from the case did not match Grimes’ prints. Grimes was exonerated of the crime in October 2012 by the Commission.

In 2014, Grimes filed a lawsuit against the City of Hickory, former Chief of Police Floyd Lucas, former police officers Steve Hunt and Steve Bryant, and Chief Tom Adkins, who was currently serving as Chief of Police when the lawsuit was filed. Grimes sought compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, litigations expenses, courts costs, and a jury trial.

After Plaintiffs and Defendants mediated the case, a proposed settlement was reached, which releases all Defendants. The City will pay $2,250,650, while the City’s insurance carrier, National Casualty, will be responsible for $999,350.