Innocent inmate says $2 million can't make up for lost years

Jail Cell Prison Getty RF

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A former California inmate wrongly imprisoned for nearly 40 years says it was the "worst nightmare" and even nearly $2 million in state compensation can't make up for his lost time.

The California Victims Compensation Board granted 70-year-old Craig Richard Coley the compensation Thursday — $140 for each day he was in prison before he was pardoned by Gov. Jerry Brown before Thanksgiving.

Coley says he forgives those who sent him away.

 Coley spent 39 years behind bars after he was wrongly convicted of killing his girlfriend, 24-year-old Rhonda Wicht of Simi Valley, and her 4-year-old son in 1978.

The payment must still be approved by state lawmakers. It's the largest under the state's Erroneous Conviction Program, although there have been larger awards to crime victims through other programs.

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Photo: Getty Images

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