Updated: Wednesday, 30 Jun 2010, 6:20 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 30 Jun 2010, 5:25 PM EDT
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It's the latest chapter in one of the most earth-shattering cases in western New York history. This comes three years after DNA evidence set Anthony Capozzi free, following the capture of bike path rapist, Altemio Sanchez.
The settlement for Anthony Capozzi is for $4.25 million. It is believed to be the largest settlement ever, of any Court of Claims case of its kind in New York.
Capozzi said back in 2007, "It's all over now. I served the time they wanted."
For about 22 years, Capozzi suffered for two rapes he did not commit, spending close to 20 of those years in state prisons, while battling schizophrenia. The $4.25 million settlement by the state for Capozzi's wrongful conviction and imprisonment was accepted by his family with mixed emotions.
Capozzi's sister, Pamela Guenther, said, "Number one, my mother wasn't here to enjoy it. Number two, Anthony's not healthier to enjoy it, and as far as dollar amount, you can never put a price on somebody's life."
For two decades, Anthony's late mother, Mary, had prayed almost every day in church that her son would be exonerated.
Mary Capozzi explained in 2007 said, "I have dreamt of this day so many, many times."
"My mom knows me very well. She knows I need help and care and attention," said Capozzi.
This extraordinary family never gave up, believing in Capozzi's innocence. Former Buffalo Police investigator Dennis Delano, whose unrelenting public efforts helped free Capozzi, believes the state should have paid more in penalties, and paid it out sooner for Capozzi's medical needs.
Delano said, "Three years later we're still talking about this? This should have been done right away. Anthony's getting nothing but worse, ya know, all of this time. He needs quality treatment, and basically he's just being maintained, which is what he's been doing for 22 years."
Capozzi family friend Russell Yannello agrees.
Yannello said, "I think it should be more, really. He went through a lot of grief, which was absurd."
But Capozzi's Attorney Tom D'Agostino said his negotiations with the State Attorney General's Office led to the highest settlement of its kind, ever paid in a wrongful imprisonment case.
"Now we can be sure that Anthony will be taken care of for the rest of his life. That's the main thing, I would say," thought D'Agostino.
Anthony Capozzi is in a group home. But without the settlement money, his family says they have not been able to greatly improve his care.