A Michigan man was recently exonerated of murder, a charge for which he spent nearly five years in prison. Now, he’s suing a rental car company for not providing records that, his lawyers say, would’ve exonerated him earlier.

By Melissa Alonso and Scottie Andrew, CNN

Herbert Alford was wrongfully convicted of second-degree murder in 2016 and freed in 2020 after the Hertz Corporation provided a receipt that showed Alford was renting a car from the Lansing airport minutes before the murder took place.

Herbert Alford, photographed in December 2020, was released the same month after he was exonerated of murder. He’s suing Hertz for not providing information to corroborate his alibi.

Hertz shared the documents with the court in 2018, more than two years after they were initially contacted by Alford’s lawyers.”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 obtained by CNN.

In 2011, Alford was mistakenly identified as the gunman who killed 23-year-old Michael Adams in a Lansing strip mall, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

He was arrested in 2015, after a suspect of a separate, drug-related crime “cut a deal with police” and provided information about Alford, according to the registry. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 2016.

Alford’s attorneys said they had requested records from Hertz that would corroborate Alford’s alibi. Hertz didn’t respond, they said, until 2018 — more than a year after a jury convicted Alford of murder, among other charges.

The records Hertz provided in 2018 showed that Alford had rented a car minutes before Adams’ killing, which occurred around 20 minutes away, Alford’s lawyer Jamie White told CNN.

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