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Man exonerated after 45 years sells his prison art to get by

January 18, 2019

FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man who was exonerated after 45 years in prison is trying to raise money by selling what kept him stable behind bars: his paintings.

Richard Phillips could be eligible for more than $2 million under a Michigan law that compensates the wrongly convicted, but the state so far is resisting. So he’s displaying roughly 50 watercolors at a Detroit-area gallery and is willing to sell them.

There are landscapes, portraits of famous people, vases of flowers and musicians. The 73-year-old Phillips says he made more than 400 paintings while in prison.

Phillips was cleared last year of a 1971 homicide after an investigation by law students and the Wayne County prosecutor’s office.

Phillips says his paintings are precious to him but he has no choice: He needs money.

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