L.A. approves settlement

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to pay $1.75 million to a man whose murder conviction was dismissed after he served nearly 14 years in prison.

Eric Robinson was one of two men who were found guilty of charges stemming from the 1993 slaying of Edward Fuentes in South Los Angeles. The other, Lavont Gillory, received a $1-million settlement from the council two years ago, after he too was freed from prison.

Gillory and Robinson persuaded a federal court to dismiss the charges last year after their lawyers produced new DNA evidence. Furthermore, the main detective involved in that case was former LAPD Sgt. Mark Arneson, who was found guilty of racketeering charges earlier this year in a case involving his business venture with Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano.


Attorneys for the city had warned the council that Robinson could win a jury award of up to $5 million if the case went to trial. Councilman Bernard Parks, who heads the council’s Budget and Finance Committee, said he feared Arneson’s involvement would cause the figure to go even higher.

“Given what we know about the Pellicano case . . . there’s no telling where the price would have gone,” he said.

The city’s lawyers warned that other factors could lead to a higher payout, including the fact that evidence was missing from the file on the Fuentes murder.

Robinson filed a federal lawsuit against the city last year, months after he was freed. During his time in prison, he earned the equivalent of a high school diploma and completed two years of college coursework, according to the city’s legal team

His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.