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Man sues Hertz for failing to provide receipt proving his innocence in murder case

Herbert Alford was exonerated of murder after roughly five years in prison.

Herbert Alford Nick King/Lansing State Journal/USA Today Network

A Michigan man is taking legal action against a rental car company that withheld evidence that would have cleared him of murder.

Herbert Alford was arrested in 2016 and wrongfully convicted of second-degree murder in connection with the death of 23-year-old Michael Adams, who was killed in a Lansing strip mall. In an effort to confirm his innocence, he contacted the Hertz Corporation to provide a receipt that would prove he was renting a car just minutes before the murder, but the car company took over two years to submit the necessary documents.

“Had the defendants not ignored and disobeyed numerous court orders requiring them to produce the documentation that eventually freed Mr. Alford, he would not have spent over 1,700 days incarcerated,” Alford’s attorneys wrote in a complaint.

A spokesperson for Hertz responded to the lawsuit, explaining the company’s initial attempts to find the receipt were unsuccessful.

“While we were unable to find the historic rental record from 2011 when it was requested in 2015, we continued our good faith efforts to locate it,” he told CNN. “With advances in data search in the years following, we were able to locate the rental record in 2018 and promptly provided it.”

Alford spent roughly five years in jail before he was exonerated in February 2020. His charges were dismissed, and he was on bond until December, per the complaint. The wrongfully convicted man — whose transition into the real world hasn’t been easy — is seeking more than $25,000 in compensation though there is “no dollar figure that’s going to make this right.”

“He is going through some things right now,” Alford’s attorneys told CNN. “He’s trying to figure out his next move ... And we’re hopeful that, you know, he’s going to get back on track shortly.”

The Hertz spokesperson claims the company is “deeply saddened to learn of Mr. Alford’s experience.”

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