Leonard Allen Cure, 53, a Black man exonerated after over 16 years of wrongful imprisonment in Florida, was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop near the Georgia-Florida line, as confirmed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). The Innocence Project of Florida, which had played a pivotal role in Cure’s exoneration, expressed deep sorrow over the tragic incident.
The details surrounding the shooting indicate that Cure was initially compliant after being pulled over by the Camden County deputy on Interstate 95. However, the situation escalated when he was informed of his arrest. According to the GBI, Cure resisted the arrest, prompting the deputy to use a stun gun. When this failed to subdue Cure, the deputy subsequently shot him. The reasons for Cure being stopped have not yet been disclosed.
Seth Miller, Executive Director of the Innocence Project of Florida, shared the anguish of the tragic incident, noting the complex emotions exonerees feel post-release, including the persistent fear of re-incarceration for crimes they did not commit.
Cure’s wrongful conviction traces back to 2003 when he was accused of an armed robbery in Dania Beach, Florida. Despite compelling alibis and a lack of substantial evidence linking him to the crime scene, Cure was sentenced to life imprisonment. In 2020, the Broward State Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit identified major oversights in his case. Following a consensus by an independent panel of attorneys on these findings, Cure was released in April 2020. His conviction and sentence were officially vacated later that December.
Reflecting on his release, Cure had expressed his eagerness to move on with his life. Recognizing the injustice, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis approved a compensation package for Cure in June 2021, amounting to $817,000, along with educational benefits.
Leonard Cure had been residing in an Atlanta suburb after receiving the compensation in August. Those who knew him after his release, including Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor, remembered him as an intelligent, humorous, and compassionate individual. Pryor highlighted Cure’s post-release visits to prosecutors, aiding in training sessions and emphasizing the importance of just and comprehensive legal work.