Elkhart man wins $11 million in wrongful conviction settlement, highest in Indiana history

NOW: Elkhart man wins $11 million in wrongful conviction settlement, highest in Indiana history

ELKHART, Ind. - An Elkhart man who spent 17 years behind bars after being wrongfully convicted of murder has reached a record-breaking settlement with the City of Elkhart and former Elkhart police officers.

Andrew Royer won a $11,725,000 settlement, the largest wrongful conviction settlement in Indiana’s history.

He was exonerated back in 2021 after a state court determined Royer was coerced into giving a false confession to the 2002 murder of Helen Sailor. The interrogation was led by Detective Carl Conway and overseen by Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Becker.

Indiana courts found Royer’s rights were violated through officials’ withholding evidence and fabricating false evidence. Police and a deputy prosecutor were found to have taken advantage of his intellectual disability to coerce a false confession.

The City of Elkhart has paid four Elkhart exonerees a total of $26,625,000 with the settlement.

Royer still has a lawsuit out against retired Elkhart County Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Chapman, Prosecutor Vicki Becker and Elkhart County itself.

The City of Elkhart issued the following statement in response to the settlement:

Although the wrongful conviction occurred long before Mayor Roberson took office, this settlement renews the commitment of his administration and current leadership at the Elkhart Police Department to pursue accountability in the hopes that this kind of case will never occur again. The Roberson administration and the police department have been committed to positive relationship-building with the Elkhart community.

Click here to read more of our investigation into the case in Broken Heart: The Elkhart Police Saga.

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